For the many creatives who may be struggling with the non-stop barrage of world events across news and social media, a thread of thoughts:
It is important for creatives to protect our headspaces. Or “inner life”. Or “reflexes.” Our work comes from ideas we consume and think about.
This is more difficult for creatives because our sensory receptors are, necessarily, always in “receive” mode to external/internal stimuli.
I’m not saying we should shut the world out to create. Work made in such isolation/ignorance will not find a good home back in that world.
I’m saying, rather than immediately respond, we need to give ourselves time to process, weed out, refine, develop, and actually create.
The best creative works have always been insightful, thought-provoking responses to the world — not knee-jerk, fight-or-flight, or off-the-cuff.
The fear may be that our peers, critics, friends, families will consider us unwoke, uncaring, or complicit due to our present silence.
It’s also self-gratifying, sometimes, to respond/act right away — feels like we did something even if only posting/sharing on social media.
Thing is: unless you’re an elected official, a govt employee, or a first responder — where it’s your job to respond immediately — you don’t have to.
Rather than being one more unheard voice among many, focus on making singular artwork that shines through as a signal amid the noise.
Rather than joining the nonstop choruses, channeling your emotional and cognitive energy into creative work is, eventually, a greater service/contribution.
How? By working to name the unnameable, reveal difficult positions, dig into behaviors and motivations, highlight anew the beauty and the pain.
Remember what William Carlos Williams said: “It is difficult to get the news from poems yet men die miserably every day for lack of what is found there.”
Your creative work is your act of resistance and your flag of peace. It is both your reason for being and your way of being in the world.
So go create: make the invisible visible; explore your shock, amazement, fear, love, hate; engage with the world through the work.