Tag Archives: Artistic personality

Of Resilience and Creativity

Notes on Creativity theme of the week:
The Artistic Personality

In the post below I mentioned that there was a time in my life when I was so hypersensitive that every action around me seemed to land directly on my soul, and that this period did not last long. The ability to bounce back from such a state is essential to life and living it, as well as essential to our creativity. What’s interesting is that the relationship between resilience (the ability to overcome adversity) and creativity is circular: resilience allows you to continue to be creative and being creative allows you to be more resilient.

While research shows that mild negative emotional states can increase creativity, excessive negative emotions can hamper creative problem-solving as well as artistic creativity. The ability to acknowledge and navigate to the other side of these emotions and their causes brings you back to a place where you are open again to creative inspiration and action.

Conversely, thinking creatively to come up with solutions to what is dragging you down will help you get back on track. What’s more, doing something creative (e.g., painting, writing, landscaping, etc.) gives you confidence in your abilities to create. This confidence can translate into belief in your abilities to take action that will take you to where you want to go, building your resilience.

For me, turning how I felt into abstract short stories with unexpected positive twists helped me take the energy I was turning against myself into work I took pride in. It also gave me a new perspective of my situation. This was a big factor in getting met back on my feet and back to what’s important in life.

(Link to ways to build resilience)

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Today’s 4 Minute Writer

The White Rose

I stumble upon them on the side of the snow filled trail. Somehow, through the months of cold and wind, they have remained, sticking their stalks and heads out, daring to hope for a bit of sun. They are so vulnerable, but don’t bother to notice- theirs is to continue the task of showing Beauty to the world. I am drawn to them. They remind me of the group of youth in Germany so many years ago who named themselves after these delicate flowers. The White Rose. In the face of the cold, death-producing regime of their time, they also stood strong, believing that Beauty would always prevail. Even as they were led to death by hanging, they maintained this impossible view. Though they were not permitted to see it, when the cold was driven out and the winds stopped, the world discovered that they were right.

Monday’s 4 Minute Writer topic: Data Entry

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The Hypersensitive Experience

Notes on Creativity theme of the week:
The Artistic Personality

I have a snapshot in my memory of me in the kitchen of a friend’s house, her father slamming down a meat tenderizer over and over again into a raw, blood-filled steak. Each blow landed directly on my soul and hammered it further and further into a dark abyss. At that time in my life it was as if there was no protective cover for my soul, it was completely exposed, and the world acted directly and deeply on it.

I am glad that this hypersensitivity did not last very long and that I was able to regain the protective shell around my soul. It gave me a glimpse, though, into just how great an effect the tiniest of our actions can have on others. And who knows, maybe the highly sensitive experience of life is truer than we know. 

(Link to Pearl S. Buck quote on high sensitivity and creativity)

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Today’s 4 Minute Writer  

Fear

It started when she was seven, some horror movie about a ring. Since then, she had an intense fear of circles- rather inconvenient really as there tend to be a lot around. She bought square tea cups, never rode a bicycle, had special doorknobs, never ate sliced tomatoes, and refused to pay cash so she wouldn’t have to deal with change. Her parents put her in therapy after she had a hysteric fit in the middle of gym class during a unit on hoola-hoops. The shrink told them she was simply defiant and would have to be consistent in their discipline.

In grad nine, she burst out in tears when the teacher handed out standardized scholastic aptitude tests in which students had to shade in bubble sheets to answer multiple choice questions.

Somehow she made it into adulthood and was now considering a career in the military… (Write your own thoughts on what happens next.)

Tomorrow’s 4 Minute Writer topic:   

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Are You an Independent Thinker?

Notes on Creativity theme of the week:
The Artistic Personality

Independence of thought is essential to the artistic personality. The ability to break with the accepted way of looking at something in order to explore and experience it from a different, perhaps unaccepted, angle is imperative. How can an artist be content to blindly follow and conform when a burning fire within drives him to seek a renewal- even transformation- of the world around him?

Independence of thought can be a risky path to pursue. The artist may become unpopular or ostracized for his stance. He must be willing to take responsibility for his choices and accept the consequences, so needs to consider wisely how far to go his own way.

In daily life, become conscious of how often you choose to express views that are different from those around you, or from widely accepted opinions. How does the way you handle these situations differ from or mirror the way you approach your creative pursuits?

(Further discussion on personality traits and creativity )

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Today’s 4 Minute Writer

Rental Cars

Unbelievable! Just when she thought things couldn’t possibly get worse, she finds out that her rental is a minivan! Of all the terrible things life could have thrown at her. She takes the keys from the agent and walks across the parking lot to the green monstrosity. Her whole body cringes as she sits herself down at the wheel. This is exactly the scenario she had spent her whole 30s trying to avoid. And now, it’s either get in the minivan and go to work or stick to her guns and get fired. She pauses to consider this choice, then takes a deep breath. She tells herself that it’s just for a few days until her Beetle is fixed. Just a few days… 

She starts the engine, puts her foot on the gas and feels nausea building. “Next come the white picket fence, the 2.1 kids, the RRSPs. This is ridiculous,” she thinks. She presses the gas pedal harder and is surprised that the thing actually accelerates to a decent speed. She rolls down the windows, lets her hair fly out, then turns up the radio and joins Jimmy Hendrix in a duet. If she’s gotta drive the suburbia-mobile, she may as well try to add a little style, she figures. 

Tomorrow’s 4 Minute Writer topic: Fear

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Creativity and Empathy

Notes on Creativity theme of the week:
The Artistic Personality

It’s easy for artists to get lost in their own experiences of ecstasy, desire, despair, or rage. They mine these depths and share their treasures with the rest of us. Artists also need to be able to enter into the inner experiences and feelings of others, to have empathy. This allows for the creation of vivid characters and dynamic performances. It is not, however, without its dangers. Entering too deeply into the inner workings of another person can create a loss of identity and perspective. Developing the ability to control the entering in and leaving behind of the experiences of others is essential- as is the ability to delve into and come out of one’s own depths so as to not become lost.  

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Today’s 4 Minute Writer

Fish

Sea kittens. Yes, that’s right, I said sea kittens- the PETA marketing campaign. If fish had the face of kittens, we would care about their welfare. Just like the baby seal thing- so cute we would want to protect them.

Is that what human beings are like, favouring the lives of the cute over the lives of the ugly? Do parents love their pretty children best? What if what was once beautiful becomes old and shriveled, does society turn its back? Yes. Look at how we discard our seniors- yes, our seniors. We are all responsible. We are collectively shallow.

But, why not love the pretty more? Why not lavish affection on what is pleasing to look at and brings warm feelings? All good to say until you’re the ugly one who is cast aside.  

Tomorrow’s 4 Minute Writer topic: Rental cars

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The Writer’s Personality Type

Notes on Creativity theme of the week:
The Artistic Personality

Do writers have a particular personality type that draws them to their craft? According to research done by Jane Piirto of Ashland Universit in Ohio, writers tested with the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) personality test scored overwhelmingly as INFPs  (Understanding Creativity).

INFPs are introverted, intuitive, feeling, and perceptive. They have a rich inner world with intense feelings and committed values. They are creative and are often gifted in language. As they are introverts, writing lends itself easily as the outlet for their creativity. Their curiosity to understand others and their continual search for new ideas allow them to see the potential for writing material all around them.

How much of yourself do you see in this description?

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Today’s 4 Minute Writer

Longing

He waits for her. Hours pass, and still he waits. Dozens of people walk by. They take no notice of this old man sitting on the park bench, alone.

A soft wind rustles the grass beyond the path they used to walk together to get here. They would sit arm in arm, looking out into the fields, sharing the sandwich she had made and laughing at the inside jokes they shared between them.

He sits alone, waiting for her. Daylight fades into dusk, then night. Still, he waits. This was their sanctuary, the place they came to week after week, their world in the midst of the world, yet set far apart from it. There is no other place he would rather be than here, with her, so he waits until she comes to him again. He has been too long without her, the months of hospital visits as he watched her slip further and further away until it wasn’t her anymore. He knows he will find her here. Eternity lay in the time-bound moments they shared here. This is the place he will connect with that realm and be with her again.

Tomorrow’s 4 Minute Writer topic: Fish

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The Artist’s Dynamic Tension

Notes on Creativity theme of the week:
The Artistic Personality

“The artist lives in a state of greater dynamic tension than the nonartist and so is likely to demand more, desire more, withdraw further into herself, witness better, laugh harder, and bellyache louder. This may not be easy for anyone to take- the artist included…” -Eric Maisel in Creativity for Life

Can you relate to that quote? A state of greater dynamic tension… The line in the Verve’s Bittersweet Symphony resonates with me: “I’m a million different people from one day to the next”, as do the lyrics to “I’m a bitch, I’m a lover” by Meredith Brooks. In that song, she talks about the extremes in her personality coming out from one moment to the next and then says “You know you wouldn’t want it any other way” and “You know I wouldn’t want it any other way.” And I wonder if I agree with that…

Of course, we all only know what it’s like to be ourselves, really, and even that we’re not completely sure of. From my limited corner of the universe, looking through the window I’ve been given, I marvel at how most people around me seem so even-keeled, without a significant degree of variance or contradiction. How do they do that? Life seems like a kiddie train ride for them instead of the roller coaster it can sometimes be for me. They appear so content and… so numb. Maybe Meredith does have a point after all…

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Today’s 4 Minute Writer

Wine Glasses After the Party

The four of them stand motionless, ignoring each other, forgetting that just a few short hours ago they were swinging in each others’ arms, then interlacing them as they drank from each others’ glasses as toast after toast rang in the new year.

Now, they are silent and empty, perfect strangers. Half eaten chips and shelled peanuts lie strewn on the counter at random, meaninglessly. Where did all the buzz and to-do go? Nothing is left but a mess to clean up and a status quo to re-establish.

It’s that awkward in-between time now, the moment suspended between festivity and the mundane, the quiet chaos that excessive merriment leaves behind.

Tomorrow, Jenny will be back at the office, Tom will be on a plane to Vegas, while Herold and Tiffany play mom and dad to their five year old twins. To the people around them, they’ll talk about the weather and traffic, and how the price of everything is going up and how fast time is going by. They’ll be back to their molds, shaking hands on cue and smiling at the person serving their morning coffee. And when they see each other out shopping for groceries or standing in line at the bank, they’ll make polite conversation. It won’t be like it was that night, when they were suddenly the best of friends who let themselves loose, embracing the spontaneity of the moment.

Tomorrow’s 4 Minute Writer topic:

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