creativity: can it become an obsession?
by jennifer kiley
i was reading another blogger’s post when it inspired me to create this blog. let’s say it became an obsession that i needed to write about this subject. so, can creativity become an obsession and/or is it an obsession?
i wouldn’t judge it. it may need to be controlled if out of control. but i would say that it should be allowed a certain amount of freedom unless it begins effecting your health or mental well being. obsession, what is it? how do you live with it. can it be judged. i think when in the realm of creativity, it makes one lose all track of time. is that a good thing or bad? you may forget to eat or take your meds. or forget you have an appointment. what you are doing has totally absorbed your attention and all else slips away. it may seem everythng else is less important than satisfying your obsession but it is not that. it’s that what you are doing has caught your imagnation and trapped you in a mostly positive way and you need to follow it until you have exhausted the creative idea, or it has exhausted you.
others in your life may not understand. they may think you are ignoring them when actully all you are doing is following your muse. she is such a temptress. exactly like a drug. you’ve got to have her energy. it’s what keeps you alive inside. you can’t stop craving the feeling she gives to you. and you don’t know necessarily when or if she will take it all away. i feel fairly secure in my muse that she will be there if i need her. but right now my food is calling and i need to take my meds. soon i have to go out to two appointments. so i need to pay attention to that. even if it is difficult to pull myself away.
my thoughts are that, obsession is always going to just be. if you are a driven person, no matter what you do will become an obsession, or if you prefer an addiction. my therapist said i am addicted to my computer. but i think one of the reasons i have an addiction to my computer is, i use it as my main instrument to write. so when i am on the computer, what i am usually doing is writing. so, yes, i am obsessed and it can take over my life. so, i need to take control of my obsession, if i don’t want to ruin my relationship with my significant other. i have since added my kindle touch to my obessive techno gadgets. i read on it. i write poetry on it. i keep my appointments and reminders on it on my calendar app. i leave notes on the notepad app to remind myself of events to come, such as: films being released, tv shows that are upcoming that we want to see and i need to set on the dvr, specific post addresses, user names and passwords (doesn’t everyone forget these all the time?). i keep a calendar online also and i actually have written out with pen and ink on a paper notepad my schedule, as i know it to be, until the beginning of the next year. this is actually for a good reason.
i discovered yesterday, from reading an article on memory loss, that bipolar can and does cause the inability to remember basic information, like what your partner just told you, peoples names, something you just heard. it can get so bad that you need to write everything down or leave post-it notes so you can remind yourself what you are doing next or where are your car keys or cell phone. i carefully place all of the things i take with me when i go out, in the exact same place everytime i am finished using them. i always wondered why i am so obsessed about setting up the dvr two weeks in advance and for repeat shows have them on a continual loop. when asked what’s on tonight, i have to check the dvr scheduled programs to find that out, otherwise i have no fucking idea. if i didn’t set up the dvr in advance i would have no clue what was on tv. not only do i have to check the dvr scheduled record settings but if my partner should ask me again, i would not remember what i found out from looking at it the first or second or more times. i’d have to look it up again. it does drive her nuts that i am always checking the dvr but it’s just to reassure me that i set things up right and also to tell me what is on for the weeks ahead. now that sucks, but it is reality.
of course, i am not the only one in our family who is obsessed with the computer. my significant other is almost as obsessed as i am with the computer, because she is usually writing or editing or playing games on her computers. we try to set up rules that we don’t use the computer when we are eating dinner or watching a film or tv show. sometimes that can be difficult. we both have a strong obsession, (actually more mine,) to know who someone is that we see in a film or tv show that looks familiar. we recognize the actor but cannot place them. it drives me crazy trying to remember, so eventually, i just have to look them up on imdb or tv.com. i have an addictive personality. once the actor identity is discovered and from what films or tv shows, then all can be let go of and once again we can relax and continue enjoying our film or tv show.
if one did not have an obsession to create, then would the passion not be as intense. i am driven to create a new blog post everyday. sometimes i might even create more than one in a day. judging obsession as good or bad, i feel is not something that fits in either one of those categories. having an obsession can be exhilirating but sometimes one hits the wall trying to follow their obsession. i did that this week. exhaustion can follow an obsession when you don’t know when to put it down. the other kind of obsessions that come with needing to check things over and over again like making sure you turned off the oven or whatever, that is defintely beyond ones control and can get rather extreme. but that’s not the creative obsession, that’s the maddening one which controls you rather then you it.
i want to write. i need to write and sometimes it is quite difficult to stop. being driven doesn’t have to be a negative action. you have to work through what drives you and the emotions it creates. is obsession creative or destructive? is it good or bad? neither. it just is. does it need to be brought into a controllable realm? yes, on some levels, especially if it effecting your health.
i enjoy writing. the lengths i go to satisfy this need is to have multiple projects going on at the same time. at the present, i am working on a screenplay. i write poetry whenever the urge presses at my emotions or a need emerges to express an idea. i am reworking a novel that i have let rest for quite some time but now feel it needs my attention. i write posts for my blog on a regular basis, never knowing if it will be only one a day or a need to express myself on multiple subjects or ideas or have a creative inspiration that needs to be released. also, i am working on editing an autobiographical memoir that i’ve beem working on since 2009 that has surpassed 600 pages.
there are more entries from various notebooks where i recorded my thoughts and poems that pertain to the subject of the memoir that still need entering. plus, i need my facebook fix of writing comments, which often can lead to post ideas. writing comments on blogs that i follow and all the marvelous interactions that occur between the friends i have made while doing my blog draws my attention. and do not forget email. also, i am going to try with a friend to write the old fashion way of pen or ink to paper or computer to printer to paper and then sending letters through the post. it shouldn’t be all that strange. i use to do it all the time. besides the US postal service needs some major help since the US government republicans won’t help. me thinks it has to do with big business plus fedex and ups.
i enjoy all of these forms of expression and feel strongly that what i am writing should be well thought out and just as meaningful as any writing that goes into a screenplay, blog post, poem, novel, short story and memoir. writing is an obsession for me. it has always been a major part of my life. could i survive without it? probably or most definitely not. my muse or muses have their needs and i have mine and fortunately they usually coinside. so what is wrong with obsessions? nothing that a little sleep won’t cure.
i must add that writing is not my only obsession or creative draw. there are probably more that i could mention here so lets not forget about love, films, reading books etc., sleeping, psychotherapy, photography, animals, art, music. these are not in any preferental order. they all involve me in my life. people i love. obsession with people i love can be exciting but it is not of the stalking kind. lets not forget actors and crushes on them. intensity in life can be so exhilerating and maddening at the same time. one could say that obsessions are just an interest in something to the degree that it becomes my passion. i am an extremely passionate person. it may drive other people crazy but for me it is addicting and makes me feel alive or on the edge of life at all times until i hit the wall of exhaustion. then i must stop for the moment to regroup and regain my strength. once renewed, my ceative life resumes its course.
a last thought, not strictly related to creativity but to obsession. i am not sure why, but the past few days, when i wake up still partially in a dream state, i have pass over me the thought or feeling of death. now, with my bipolar, i often find myself in a depression which always puts me into a suicidal state of mind. gradually, i am learning to adjust to how that makes me feel. i am usually extremely overwhelmed with the sensations that the thoughts of suicide and the emotions that come with it make me feel. in those moments, i do not fear death. it seems to have become quite a familiar acquaitance.
but not familiar, when i feel death when i awaken from a days sleep. (i have vampire tendencies when it comes to daylight as the preferred time to sleep.) when i wake up to the thought and feeling of death surrounding me, i feel overwhelmed with fear. definitely, i feel scared and frightened by the state of death and the thought of losing my life in this world. this seems like a total dichotomy to the other state when i am fully committed to the thoughts of suicide. for the life of me, i cannot figure out why they are such extremely different reactions. one is an obsession. that would be the state of wanting to commit suicide. the other is a human reaction to the thought of mortality and coming to the end of one’s life in a natural or not so natural way but not by my own hand. this puzzles me to the point of distraction.
now my obsession is to understand what the hell this is all about. actually, that makes me think of one of my most important obsessions: the need to understand everything: life, love, the meaning of life, what happens after we leave our body’s permanently and so many more questions. i think that is one of the reasons i write my blog. it is a way of exercising or exorcising my thoughts and feelings that hopefully will lead me closer to the meaning of it all. the big picture and the smaller one. that is all for now. ~the secret keeper~ ps. and tell me why do the things that happen to each of us as we travel through our lives, happen to each of us?