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  • Writer's picturegallagherkara

Creativity is Calling, You Should Answer


This idea of creating and the act of creativity feels so essential to me. It's actually been on my mind a lot lately. And when I say lately, I mean for the last 8 years or so. Since I had these babies of mine, now 2nd graders, I’ve had many moments of my soul lighting up at the sight of tiny lips learning how to eat or watching eyes finally flutter close, giving in to the exhaustion of being 14 months and trying to learn everything at once. These moments prick my bone marrow with small glimpses into universal truths, like love and light, and I wanted to compose the most beautiful poem about eyelashes and chubby toes. But then I remembered there were about 18 bottles to wash and get ready for the next round of feeding and after I did that, more stuff, always more stuff. There’s always this small nag in the back of my head. Write. Write. Write. But then I always have 101 reasons why I don’t time or what’s the point?

Because I really do love to write and have enjoyed it since I was little. I have bad, angsty poetry from high school. I have the beginnings of a novel buried in crooks and crannies of my brain and first draft chapters that are sitting in google docs, this very moment, waiting for revisions and additions. I have short stories stuffed in folders and uncredited obituaries and letters I’ve helped write for other people. It is truly a joy to see words I have written mean something to someone else.

But I don’t do it nearly as often as I “should” or can or a million different reasons why that novel isn’t finished or more poetry isn’t written. Being creative is hard. It’s hard for the shear reason that for some of us, sitting down to create takes grit and tenacity. Especially since people on Twitter on so stinking funny, and your friend just had a baby and those pictures on Facebook! And that laundry in the corner… (THERE IS ALWAYS LAUNDRY IN THE CORNER BY THE WAY. ALWAYS.) Distractions and so many reasons why being creative for the sake of being creative is a waste of time. We have a societal narrative that your own personal creativity should be marketable, have its own Instagram account, followers, sell prints, books, your creations should be consumed. But what about creating just because it brings you joy?

I get these reminders from the universe often. How creating something from my right brain in necessary to my health and happiness. A few years ago it was Elizabeth Gilbert’s book, Big Magic. The entire book was basically her saying, UNLEASH YOUR CREATIVITY FOR F*** SAKE! I gift and recommend this book often.

My son brought home a poem from school the other day and that familiar joy of creativity ran through my busy self. Another reminder from the universe. I stopped and took a quiet breath of joy and gratitude at his innocent offer of his words and images strung together about his favorite color.

Blue Blue is the color of the beautiful sky. The color of a blue jay and our flag. Blue tastes like blue raspberries, sweet and tart. Blue looks like my blue eyes shining brightly. Blue feels like I'm on an airplane looking out the window. Blue sounds like whales talking in the deep ocean. Blue smells like fresh blueberry muffins. Blue is the color of the beautiful sky. The color of blueberries and our flag. - Christian Gallagher

I got a journal from my mom when I was a teenager. If you haven't caught on by now that I am a slightly emotional person who feels stuff, good or bad, pretty deeply, well, hello, that's me. She gave me this journal and I’m going to paraphrase the inscription, “Kara, writing will be your answer.”

And despite forgetting this often, she was right.

If creating something out of your head and heart feels right, like it's calling you, like there might be a piece of you missing if you don't draw, write, compose, play, design, paint, sculpt, stop waiting for the perfect conditions or the perfect reason. Just start because personal joy might be waiting for you. Start because nothing will happen. Start because everything will happen.

Stop waiting. Go create something.

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