I recently read Elizabeth Gilbert’s book “Big Magic.” There were many things that I agreed with and many things that don’t necessarily apply to me, but when I closed the back cover, I came away with one thing: I’m not alone in this special thing called the creative life.
I’ve loved being a writer since I was a little kid. I would write short stories, poetry and journal entries. My teachers would praise my essays and writing assignments. I even won a some awards. Regrettably, I never turned this passion into a way of generating income. I never thought my material was good enough or that it could turn into a lucrative career. So instead I pursued a career in medicine. Then I changed my mind and thought I’d be a lawyer. I’m now working in youth ministry, itching once again to get a pen into my hand as the blank page calls my name. It just goes to show that our true vocation always calls us back no matter where we may venture.
The point is that what I loved as a kid has returned to me as an adult, and I have no other option than to respond. What it has led to are paper cuts, frustration, ripped pages, blank pages, writers block and late nights wanting to write but feeling uninspired. But I have never been hopeless. Instead, I search for inspiration. Sometimes it shows up in unexpected places, but one thing remains consistent: I can always find inspiration in other people’s art.
A good friend of mine, Alex Lasota, once said to me,
“Talent from one artsy area – totally inspires talent in the other!”
Her words proved to be true as I was scanning videos on YouTube and came across Amy Vachal’s version of La Vie en Rose.
I absolutely love the song. But I was even more struck by the background of this video…a piece that she made. And a classic song that she made her own. I then started to watch different versions of the song, and all of a sudden I was motivated to write and fill blank pages with words that were inspired by a beautiful song but turned into a story that is all my own.
What Alex said is true…When you feel uninspired, you can look for inspiration in another piece of art.When you do, you realize not only that you’re not alone but that being a creative is special. You may feel like you’re alone in this endeavor. You may feel like a weirdo in a world of people with “normal jobs.” You may feel like you’re moving against the tide. But you also get distinction. You get to exercise being unique and courageous. You get excitement and adventure. I look at what the first six months of this year have brought me: I get to call myself a dancer. I get to call myself a writer. I get to call myself an artist. I get to call myself a creative. And that means the world to me.