I think there’s no creative process that goes without injuries and scratches and punches. You get beat up somehow, and that’s part of the commitment. You have to be open to that.
By: Anel Conradie
When thinking about it rationally, or even putting this concept together artistically, it’s still a difficult idea to understand. What is the “no-space” of creativity? If it is a no-space, how can it exist? How can it be defined?
My proposition is that it is found, mostly – but not exclusively – in the spaces of life that we cannot predict and do not expect. Mostly so in the spaces of trauma or severe loss.
Let me explain
Creativity has been said to be found all around us. Especially, when we look to nature, it is filled with creative beauty and artistic authenticity. Nature is often also where we find inspiration to create something ourselves. Filled with the sound of solitude and the smell of mountainous splendor, we are often moved to meditate on that which is important to us…on that which makes sense. And thus, out of this meditated state, we are refreshed to dare to create something of our own. The whole experience is truly blissful. I hope that all creatives often move themselves into this space to experience and create something out of this beauty.
I want to dare to say that when we find ourselves in the ‘no-space’ of creativity, we are moved to create something much more human – much more real. Moved to create something raw, something so deeply personal, that it will either attract or repel our audience.
To be able to fully describe this creative ‘no-space’, I’ve categorized it into five different phases. (Please note that these phases are only based on my own, personal experience)
The cycle starts with a happy expectation of a specific life event or moment. But, the five different phases kick in when something suddenly and very drastically goes wrong. When events take a turn for the worst. The “crash moment” seems to come out of the blue, and within a matter of seconds, everything down-spirals… Seconds which literally change everything.
Deeply dependent on individual personality, and the ability to cope with stress, each phase might last for a varying amount of time. Personally, the 5th stage – silence, lasts the longest for me.
3) Crash moment
Creativity can exist during all, or none, of these phases. It seriously depends on the creative. It is however important to recognize and acknowledge that these phases exist, in order to move forward.
The first three stages are usually so overwhelming, that it almost seems like you are completely paralyzed with the shock thereof. Emotionally, it is such a roller-coaster as you try to make sense of what happened to your world as you knew it… During these phases there are no literal expressions of creativity, but the thought processes accompanying these phases are so emotionally complex that an ability to deal with it all simultaneously, develops. Doubt and hope, exists within the same thought…. Fear and fighting that fear happens within the same millisecond, until you come to an abrupt stop in the crash moment.
So, although you have not necessarily created something physically during these first three phases, your mind has adopted a new way of processing. This ability will turn your future creations into something of such profound reality, that the authenticity and realness of it cannot be denied.
See, in these moments your mind develops the ability to see, analyze, assess and recreate a thousand vantage points of the same scenario. This allows you to see all future events, and creations, from a thousand different angles. In essence, this creates an immense depth in everything you create.
Then there are stages four and five. Denial of what has happened, which turns into a deep, deep silence. A silence so quiet that you cannot hear your own voice. A silence that is so heavy, it weighs you down emotionally, physically and spiritually. Some people might mistake it for depression, and although there might be similar signs, the origin is not the same. (Again, please note that this is not based on any scientific knowledge, this is only my understanding – based on my own experience.)
I want to be very clear and reiterate that it is NOT only through trauma that one is able to create something uniquely authentic. However, the experiences in my own life have led me to discover that I am enabled to see and understand the beauty, and the pain, of every experience of life. And, out of that, I have been able to create things which are much more real and which speaks with much more authority in their existence. It is my understanding that we find pieces of ourselves, and discover a strength within, with which we can create things of much more significance.
So, to wrap it up:
The “no-space” of existence, is the space within which you find yourself drifting. It’s the space which feels and smells and sounds like nothing. During the time that you are caught in this nothingness, your mind seems to be immersed into a space of perspective. This perspective, once you are able to untangle yourself from the grasp of emptiness, enables you to comprehend and create, with so much more colour.
Anel is a freelance writer, editor, and proofreader. With a background in teaching English literature and language she now pursues her own writing career. She is an Alumna of Stellenbosch University, in Cape Town.
Growing up in Namibia, Anel has a deep appreciation of the vastness of nature which echoes the vastness of humanity. “I love to write about the complexity of our humanity and that which forms our very core identity.”
Anel has been married for 7 years and has one daughter. The journey of being a wife and a mom has also inspired her to write about, and share, her own experiences. She is currently working on her first book: “10 Lies we believe about marriage.”
Visit her blog or follow her on social media.
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