I follow quite a few blogs, really too many but I find them to be relaxing while I sip my chai tea in the mornings. One of the blogs I follow is called Colour Me Happy, it’s a great blog on, surprise, colour. The main subject is paint colors and house stuff but there are surprises every once and awhile.

Today’s post is one of thoses posts that nailed it. It’s based on TED Conference speaker and author Elizabeth Gilbert of Eat Pray Love.  I read Eat Pray Love when it came out and loved it, loved it because it rang true in my life, I connected with Elizabeth in her yearnings to do something, to explore who she is and actually doing it. Well, most rings true, I haven’t actually divorced my husband (and I don’t ever plan on it) but I have been in that place of “is this all there is” in life. Anyhow, I could go on and on about that and how learning who you are is a crazy process that I’m still in. I really wish I was at TEDx Mile High today but it’s sold out and I also have  real job that doesn’t allow for scheduling in conferences that I feel would be inspirational.

The post on Colour Me Happy today from Elizabeth Gilbert focuses on creativity and where it comes from. She says it better so here is a tidbit, if you want to read more, go visit Colour Me Happy!

‘Extraordinary American poet, Ruth Stone, when she was growing up in rural Virginia would be out working in the fields and she would feel the poem coming up over the landscape towards her like a thunderous train of air and there was only one thing to do and that was to run like hell towards the house, and the idea was to get a pen and paper fast enough so that when it thundered through her she could collect it and grab it on the page.  Other times she wouldn’t be fast enough, and she would be running and running and almost there but the poem would barrel through her and she would miss it and it would continue on across the landscape, past her looking for another poet.

And then there were those times when the poem passed through her and she would almost miss it, she’d reach out for a pencil and then reach out with her other hand and catch the poem by it’s tail and she would pull it backwards into her body as she was transcribing on the page and in these instances the poem would come up on the page perfect and intact but backwards from the last word to the first.

Elizabeth said “When I heard that I thought, that’s uncanny, that’s exactly what my creative process is like.” There are work and ideas that come through me, through a source that I honestly feel like I cannot identify. . . and how do you relate to that thing in a way so that you don’t lose your mind?”

She interviewed Tom Waits once and he talked about having the same experience. . . He hears this little fragment of melody in his head as he’s driving down the freeway, and he wants it and he longs for it but has no way to get it, as he does not have a pen or paper or a tape recorder to capture it in that moment.

And then he worries that he’ll lose it and be haunted forever by that song. But one time, instead of panicking, he did something completely novel, he looked up at the sky and said “Excuse me, can you not see that I’m driving? Do I look like I can write down a song right now, if you really want to exist come back at a more opportune moment when I can take care of you, otherwise go bother someone else, go bother Leonard Cohen.”

He said it changed his whole work process. And Elizabeth went on to say “It saved me when I was in the middle of writing Eat, Pray, Love. It happens to all of us. I fell into one of those pits of despair, when you start thinking–this will be the worst book ever written. And so she did the same thing, speaking to the corner of the room:

“Listen you thing, you and I both know that if this book isn’t brilliant that it won’t be entirely my fault, because you can see I am putting everything I have into this, and I don’t have any more than this, so if you want it to be better, then you have to show up and do your part of the deal and if you don’t do that, I will continue to write anyway because that’s my job, so I would just like the record to reflect today that I showed up for my part of the job.”

The angst that creative people feel, the ‘How can I ever write anything better than this?, create anything to top the last thing, write a blog post better than this one?’ we worry ‘What will we do for the rest of our life?’ How do we reconcile that?

Maybe it doesn’t have to be quite so full of anguish, maybe if you never happened to believe in the first place that the most extraordinary aspects of your being came ‘from you’ but maybe if you just believed that they were on loan ‘to you’, from some unimaginable source for some exquisite portion of your life to be passed along when you’re finished to somebody else. When you think about it this way it starts to change everything.

More at Colour Me Happy