Artists are a crazy bunch. We spend our time complaining that we are tired, that we need a break, yet when a break comes up, we spend it… working.
I don’t know if it’s a compulsion, or an attitude, or some kind of psychosis or what, but it’s common among every musician, writer, painter, actor or developer I know. Any quiet time is time to get creative.
The brain kicks in, the hands get twitchy, the legs get itchy, and the burning desire to create becomes all-consuming. The Muse comes to torture one’s ears, sowing nonsensical, disjointed suggestions that spawn ideas that grow into concepts that fill every cavity of thought until there’s nothing but an overwhelming need to convert the concepts into reality.
The mouth mutters quietly. The pencil hits paper. Index fingers are pointed to nowhere in particular. Every ripple, ridge and scuff of paint on the ceiling is scrutinised. The toilet becomes as sacred as a library.
Then the thoughts manifest in the physical world, “Hey, you know what’d be really cool?”
Think of all the ideas that could be realised in a thousand lifetimes, then agonise as they are culled to leave only the most sensible, the most immediate, the most practical. Oh, for another lifetime…
Nothing burns like an itch that cannot be scratched. So many of us have to work at jobs, cook and clean for our families, attend social commitments and generally get interrupted by every man and his dog looking over our shoulder.
Like right now.
It’s a nightmare, sitting in a long-running meeting, thinking about all the possible projects that could be completed, all the ideas that could be explored, all the cool concepts that could be made into reality, if only I wasn’t stuck in this damn meeting!
Then, to top it all off, when finally there is a breathing space, one is just too damn tired to do anything – The Physical blots out the Metaphysical. The Muse has gone to bed. It’s a crying shame, but good luck trying to rev your creative engine at 11:30 at night after a long slog at work, cooking dinner, washing up and putting the kids to bed, taking care of that emergency support call, putting the kids back to bed again…
Ain’t gonna happen.
Yet it does happen. The desire is so strong that the artist actively, albeit grudgingly, pushes through the pain, past the fog of sleep-deprivation, out into the world of creativity, if only for a few minutes at a time, if only to make that next stroke of the brush, that next sentence, that next riff.
If you’ve ever tried to scratch your toe by rubbing it on the inside of your shoe, you’ll get an idea of what I’m on about: some satisfaction is better than none.
Go easy on your artist, yeah? Sure, they are crazy, but remember that they are doing it tough.