Wednesday, September 30, 2009

is unhappiness your muse?

I have been nesting again, but in a different kind of way. I’ve been making things. As many as I can, which is not that many in the time leftover after working, studying, chores and living, but a few all the same. I think there’s something about creating things, something about having an idea, drawing a design, choosing fabric, stitching, stuffing, seeing it take shape under your hands. Or taking paper and drawing lines that turn into a story, or taking wool and making it solid. No matter what is going on in the world outside or all the things you cannot control, you can sit down and create. It is methodical, focusing, consoling, rewarding.

Which got me to thinking; I create more when things aren’t easy. That’s when I retreat and focus inward. I’ve been talking to some friends who are creative in different ways and that seems to be the case for them too. My friend who is a singer/songwriter finds it harder to write when she’s happy, there’s less material and impetuous to do so. Likewise painters can be best depressed, poets in unrequited love write with fervor; is the muse for creativity unhappiness? Is happiness a too mellow state to be passionate about creating something? Or is it any strong emotion that lends itself to expression?
What do you think? And do you create more when you are happy, or when you are sad?


Kylie said...

Great question, Pepper. I've been thinking about it and what I came up with surprised me... I get more creative ideas when I'm down but I'm more productive when happy, if that makes any sense? The hardest part is jotting down the ideas when I'm hangin with the black dog ;) K

Niki said...

DEFINATELY! Lately things in life have been pretty good. Smooth sailing so to speak. Routine, boring, content, and fat. But definately not inspiring. I struggle to find words to write, stories to tell, images to create; even songs don't seem to have much meaning. How is it that when things are doom and gloom I ooze creativity and my brain can't seem to stop - but when that foul beast of contentness settles it's warm head on my lap - I can think of anything. Or even feel as much for that matter....?

Anonymous said...

Hmm, good thoughts.

In the past it used to be that if I was too sad, I did nothing. Just ate things - but not even food creations that I made (this meant far too too too many thai noodles from across the street!)

But if I am too happy I tend not to write.
I am trying to find a medium place. I have discovered that the more I create, the better I feel and the more I need to keep creating. . Is this that old saying practice makes perfect, or is crafting/writing/cooking becoming a habit? A lovely inspiring habit?

(What a rambling response, sorry!)

Hannah said...

oooooo a thinker. For me a little stress leads to creativity.

I was unemplyed for 6 months- just sat at home, and rather then use the time to blog and make stuff i sat and watched Homes Under the Hammer and felt sorry for myself. Then I got a job and started my blog- which led to making more stuff, writing more and finding other peoples brilliant blogs. I sometimes kick myself for not using all that free time more productively, but I need deadlines and a bit of pressure to do things, not necessarily sadness.

sophie said...

I definitely use my craft as a way to unwind, to channel my anxiety or sadness and to relax. I like to sew when I am happy but I think I am a more productive sewer when I am feeling otherwise.

Rolley said...

Good questions : )

I think any strong emotion can be harnessed for creativity. At work (as a graphic designer), if I'm morbid I can't come up with anything, if I'm really happy then I'm rolling the work out - and I'm also more happy and positive about what I create, instead of feeling hopeless. I get this energy for creating when I'm excited, and I love it!

But, on the other hand, I think painful moments, times of doubtful self questioning, and so on, can be good for creating too. When you're feeling any strong emotion, you can use it for energy to create : )

If I got to choose, I think I'd rather knit (or do any creating) with love and happiness than sadness. After all - creating is a good thing right? Maybe creating gives you the pickup you need when you're down?

Jetta's Nest said...

Interesting. Once upon a time I probably would have said that I'm more creative when I'm sad because my creativity used to be an expression of what I was feeling (teenage angst, childhood pain, depression etc). I'm quite a private person and in the past I've used my art as a way of expressing my sadness but.....I'm not very sad anymore, well not very often anyway and I've found lately (when I've tried to channel my inner darkside to create something a bit dark) that I can't.

I create so that I can function, that's always been my way.....maybe for me now in my happy times it keeps my sadness at bay.

I hope you find happier times soon :)