As many of you know, I suffered a severe concussion over the summer. I’m still working out the issues. The good news is that, for the most part, my creative stream of imagery returned. Early last week, a new story idea flooded my brain, demanding attention, and looking for a way out.
Much to my girlfriend’s chagrin, I write the story, searching for every opportunity to get it out of my head and written down.
Within the past week, I’ve written approximately 40,000 words. Little by little, the words get out but the pressure to finish remains. Right now, I have such a clear understanding of where the story needs to go, that any delay stresses me that I might forget.
Alas, I keep on writing and beg forgiveness of my girlfriend who needs me.
This is Richard Verry, writing to you during a break in the action. Now, back to my writing.
As part of the series of interview questions, I was asked these questions. “Who is your muse?” and “Who do you turn to for ideas when you get stuck?”
The answer is complicated but isn’t it always? For me, it depends upon the time frame of my life. Overall, there have been three muses in my life. Two I still use today.
The first was Darlene or Dar for short. Everyone called her Dar. Over a decade ago, Dar helped me learn the techniques to express myself in the visual arts. She started out as a mentor, showing me how to properly put pencil to paper and to put paint to canvas. Over time, we became more than that and we shared much of ourselves with each other. We would bounce ideas off each other, share our artwork and spend other more relaxing activities together. We could communicate on many levels. Over time, I had yet another upheaval in my life and I lost touch with her. There are days when I miss her presence in my life and think of her.
For a long while, I didn’t really have a muse I could turn to ideas from. I did have a girlfriend who thought I did a really could job capturing the human form but in the end, she didn’t help inspire me. I got more ideas from the internet than I did from her. Need I say more?
Then I met my current girlfriend who is now my committed partner in life. We share everything, including honesty in our beliefs. I love that about her. I can tell her anything about me. I can tell her my deepest, sometimes darkest, thoughts and feelings. Sometimes she can’t stand to hear some of the stuff that bounces around in my head. However, she is a smart, intelligent lady who can deal with my shit. Most importantly, she allows me the freedom to share and I love that about her. Of course, she can share herself with me in the same way and I strive hard to give her the same satisfaction as she gives me.
The other person whom I look to as my muse is really a good friend. We’ve never shared a bed, nor been more than a good friend to each other. She is in a committed relationship with her husband and I am very happy for her. We have a lot in common. We are both trying to get our individual businesses off the ground. Our problems in that regard are similar but also different. Her business is mostly local and she can directly interact with her customers. Mine is global and I have no idea who most of my customers are.
Yet, when we need to confer, exchange ideas and ask opinions of each other, she is one I will look towards. She thinks like me and we share many of the same interests. My girlfriend is very vanilla and until she met me, had little knowledge of the lifestyle I am close to. My other muse is in the same lifestyle as I am. She appreciates the subtleties of my characters and their development. She understands my characters and what motivates them.
So, when I need to bounce ideas for an entire storyline, I turn to my girlfriend. When I need to confer the subtleties of my characters and their motivations, I turn to my other muse.
Last night, for example, we met for coffee just to catch up. As much as I tried to avoid talking about my next book we somehow migrated to it. I expressed that I thought my main character was too much of a wuss and that she was acting out of character. She helped me with ideas to strengthen her character and bring her back in line with what the storylines expect.
Between the two of them, I have found a happy place. Each have their own perspectives, each offers me great ideas and each stimulate me in ways that neither could image.
Who do you use as a muse as you exercise your talents? I’ve shared with you and I hope you’ll return the favor.
"Without Freedom of Choice, there is no Creativity. Without Creativity, there is No Life."
Captain James T. Kirk in 'The Return of the Archons'.
I recently saw this quote and it got me thinking. Yes, thinking can hurt and it’s a favorite tease in my house. As I reflect on the quote, I can’t help wonder about the accuracy of the words.
I’ve known my entire self-aware life that humans only grow and thrive because of the challenges we face and overcome. What I had never considered before was just how we figure out what we need to do to overcome and grow.
Just how did we advance our species from a caveman to the technological society we enjoy today? Assuming we don’t destroy ourselves, I presume our species will grow exponentially. Who knows where we’ll be a thousand years from now. Just look how far we’ve come in the last thousand years.
As I considered the question, it suddenly occurred to me that perhaps the answer to the question was our capacity to be creative. Not just in the arts but also in the sciences. As a whole, our species have a tremendous talent to think outside the box. We can consider a question and instead of looking for the immediate answer, we also look at both relevant and unrelated concepts to determine whether there is something there that can advance the answer.
If this quote is true and I have no reason to believe otherwise, it’s our creativity that allows us to grow and thrive. It’s our creativity that advances us one after the other.
Consider if you will what would we, as a species, be like if we did not have any sort of creativity. Take any example in the history of the human race. Keeping it simple, let’s postulate this scenario. You live on an island and you eat the fruit of the tree to live on. There’s plenty of fruit and you eat readily. It’s all you’ve ever eaten, It’s all you have ever needed to eat. Year after year, you eat the fruit and nothing else. After all, there’s plenty to go around and you’ve never wanted for anything else.
Then one day, a storm comes through and wipes out every single fruit tree and the crop you’ve come to depend on is suddenly gone. A few days later, you’re hungry. You’ve never been so hungry in you entire life. You’re starving and on the verge of dying. Yet, living right along with you are chickens, ducks, and other small animals.
If you had never eaten a chicken before, without creativity to solve the problem, would you? Would you eat a chicken? Would you even think to try it? Without the concept of creative thinking, to think beyond your experiences and teachings, I contend that you would not. You would starve to death. If you represent the entire human species, then our species would be extinct.
Star Trek (c) Paramount Studios
I contend and believe that our capacity for creative thought is what allows us to grow, thrive, and advance.
What do you think? Could we do so? Can the human race grow and continue to advance without our capacity for creative thinking?
I look forward to reading your comments. Please, feel free to add to the discussion in the field below.
This is Richard Verry, pondering yet another aspect of life on this planet we all share. Until next time, have a great day!