I find creating so much easier the older I get.
For what I have lost since the manic, inventive and crazed invention of my youth, age has compensated me with a clear and calm perspective. I think it comes from an image of self. When younger, I felt that anything I produced was a direct reflection of my worth; I judged myself by my creations. I judged myself very harshly by them too, so the fear of how others might do the same was almost paralysing. If what I attempted was not the highest of art, then folk would see through the cracks and realise what a complete piece of shit I was. That I was a faker. That I was actually hollow of purpose, worth and talent. Now that I am older, I no longer measure myself by such narrow parameters. I gauge the worth of myself, my heart and my soul by what kind of parent I am to my kids. I rise and fall on what kind of partner I am, of how I treat others, of how much damage and good I do to the lives of those around me. I look at my worth now as the accumulation of my life’s experiences, the choices I made, the choices I did not make and the reasoning and ethos behind both.
So where does that leave my art? In a place of pleasure.
No longer labouring under the massive expectation of proving self worth, I am free to enjoy the process with as little pain as possible. Of course, it is still work and it can still be arduous, but only in and of itself, not because of any self reflection. Instead of trying to inform what I create with my own sense of self, now the work informs me. Perhaps it always did, but I was too self doubting, too low or hard on myself to hear it.
I still doubt my work, I know now that I always will. I still feel like a talentless hack and am forever hovering at the edge of the bin, poised to throw any and all work I have ever even attempted so that I may take up a far more fulfilling and less frustrating existence as a chartered accountant.
But I don’t. Because that’s not who I am. That’s not how my worth is measured.
I want to tell stories. That’s all i’ve ever wanted to do.
Through words or music or drawings. I just want to tell stories.
But my story is my own. It is only for those I choose to love and who choose to love me.
That’s the only story that defines me.
That’s the only one I never want to stop writing.
The rest is art.
The rest is easy.