The world of the imagination vs the material world

I’ve often heard the idea that creative people have to suffer to be able to really create and I absolutely loathe it.  There’s a kind of smug martyrdom inherent in it.  What’s with all this idolatry of suffering, anyway?    The notion that creativity only comes alive when you’re in pain is anathema to me.

However, I can understand how people whose entire being is focused on creating may not be very good at dealing with the world.

In the world of creativity there’s no earthly consequence to anything you imagine.  You don’t have to deal with people or relationships.  It’s a totally free zone.  Just you and your imagination.

Which is very different to living in the world all the time, being impacted on by people, having relationships, getting your buttons pressed, making decisions that affect your physical being.  Dealing with the passage of time.

Personally I’ve always found this part of life very difficult to get my head around.   It seems clumsy and at times hard to comprehend, whereas the world of my imagination is so light and quick and responsive.

Alas I don’t think it’s because I’m a creative genius, I think it’s because I never learned.  When I was four years old I was conscious of not knowing what to do around other children, and believing they didn’t want to play with me because I was ugly and stupid.

The world of my imagination is where I feel very at home, but my allegiance is split.  I also want to have my feet on the ground, and much as the earthly experience is challenging and frustrating, I love that part of life too.  I love the challenges, the thrill of interaction, the feeling of being alive when I’m angry.

My day has been spent in reading my script through and making notes.   The world I’ve created was more real than my physical one.  It was wonderful, I love my characters, my heroine is absolutely wild, and the man she falls in love with is such a jerk at first, but he so changes.  So does she.  I create the action, personalities, relationships, situations.  I figure out problems and give them solutions as I see fit.   I’ve been a completely free agent.  I’ve spent the day without having to deal with any real consequences other than the simple ones of “oh, that doesn’t make sense, he/she wouldn’t so/say that”, or “move this along”, or “delete this scene”.  The worst consequence is “this damn thing is too long”.  How difficult is that?

It’s kind of weird to come out of it and re-adjust.  Sit down at my computer.  Do my daily grind to earn money.  Deal with my heart doing loop-de-loop.

The world of the imagination and no immediate consequence is very seductive.  But nothing comes without its price, and there’s a big consequence to letting go and living there always.  It’s lonely.  Nobody touches you.  Nobody loves you.  You don’t get to touch and love anybody else.  Anybody real, that is.  And you don’t get to stretch yourself, you don’t feel the thrill of life coursing through every part of your body.

So the material world is clumsy and slow and kind of thick in comparison to that of the imagination, but some of its consequences are pearls of great price.

And I have a body that wants to be used, I have passions that need physical outlets.  I’d hate to get to the end of my life and not have engaged every part of me.  So I guess, hard as it is to make the transition between the two worlds, I’ll keep making it.  Hopefully I’ll get better at it.  I want the world of my imagination to have a big scope, but I also want to have love and give it, and to experience material abundance and stability.

In short, I want it all.  No martyrdom for me, thanks!

Probably means I’m just not really a creative genius.  I’m fine with that.


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