creative drive

Creative Drive is Not for the Faint of Heart

Dec 9, 2019

Creative drive is such a strange term.

We all know people who have boatloads of creative drive, or at least what we think of as filling that blank on a getting to know you better version of speed friending.  Perhaps you are one of those people who is destined to make things, and to show the world the things you make.  If you’re not, and you don’t care about those who do, the rest of this blog is probably not so much for you, continue at your peril.

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We were wandering around downtown the other night, during the First Friday get together in the arts district, and there were literally hundreds of people with their little tents set up in the vendor area; at least three different, respectably known, art galleries were having new openings, and the David Hockney’s Yosemite collection was on display at the Heard Museum (if you’re in Phoenix and you haven’t been there, shame on you!), and you will have plenty of time over the next three months to see it if you don’t forget about it.

I also made a new ‘internet friend’ this week – someone that’s in a couple of the web design groups that I belong to online, and it turns out that she paints the most amazing watercolors.  I was absolutely gobsmacked when I saw her online gallery.  This woman has some serious creative drive, and has been doing this for years.  Her goal is to make enough of a living painting to give up web design, and after seeing her work, I can’t really say that I blame her one bit.

Is it something in the genes?

I sit and ponder this, mostly when I am procrastinating my way out of actually doing some work that needs to be completed; so this likely means that I’m doing a lot more pondering than working on many occasions.  At my house, I’m the “art department” and Mike is the “engineering department”.  This leads to a very complementary style of completing our projects with the most efficiency.  But, as Mike likes to joke, we have WAY too many colors in the universe as it stands, and we would be just fine if we only had, I dunno, 50 or fewer to select from for stuff.  Mike’s mom loves to paint, little acrylics, I should mention, and she uses more than 50 shades, I will wager.

[READ: Writers block, the gift that keeps on giving – ARTICLE]

It occurs to me, during all the daydreaming, err, pondering, that in my family, I have always been the one who feels compelled to make things, create things, re-organize things, re-do things, etc.  Neither my brother nor my parents ever showed that much interest in designing anything; my son doesn’t really do it either, and he certainly was given ample opportunity over the years.

Are some people really just fine with things the way they are?  Are they happy to sit and look around their living room and not think that if they just moved that picture to this wall, or changed up the pillows on that sofa, that it would add a completely different tone to the room?  Do they never look at a bolt of fabric and say, ‘hmmm, I can turn that into a new dress or reupholster my favorite chair?”

Do they not collect paint samples as a hobby?  And organize them by color family in a nifty little cardboard fold together box they bought at IKEA?  What the hell is wrong with these people?  Do they not understand that he who dies with the most fonts wins?

Is my brain just something strange and weird?

I suppose it’s possible, maybe even likely.  I’ve always had the burning desire to write a novel, paint a masterpiece, design something over the top and out of this world…  and not really because I want a million other people to see these things and gasp with delight at my creative prowess, either.  I’m perfectly happy to sit in my own bed in the mornings, marveling at how the dusky blush color on the walls changes with each passing minute, taking on new and different tones as more of the sunlight dances into the room through the window.

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There is one difficult thing, I find, about creating something or crafting something or designing something and then putting it out there for the world to critique.  People don’t always like the work.  Of course in this age of social media apps and ‘community-based’ websites, everyone believes that they are the Craig Claiborne of whatever, and everything.

Take Houzz, for instance.  People who otherwise couldn’t figure out whether or not black and white were a viable color combination will rake a project over the coals, for no reason other than it doesn’t suit their personal aesthetics or situation.  Yes, we all get that you’d rather sit home in your dreary and drab home, with it’s vanilla walls and beige carpet – realtor beige, most likely – and talk shit about a project that was commissioned by someone with both sense AND money.

Some of those comments are enough to make me cringe.  We all know that not everyone has a space that can carry off high gloss plum colored cabinetry in the butlers pantry, and of course we know that some people have no practical use for bathtubs (they are ‘shower folk’ for sure), but the level of viciousness that some of the fine, upstanding members of the peanut gallery bring to the conversation is both uncalled for and unseemly.

It’s hard enough for someone who has poured their heart and soul into creating something – a dress, a kitchen, a painting, an English rose garden – to know that they have managed to live up to their own expectations, much less that they will meet the oh so critical mob and be judged worthy.


Sigh.  It’s a wonder that people continue to create anything at all.


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