Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Creative Frenzy-Battle Scars & Afterglow

There's somewhat of a dark side to the creative frenzy.  "I totally understand the frenzy although, I'm not as fanatical about finishing a project as I used to be."  "I too, understand creative frenzy. It has to be harnessed before it gets away."  "I love your description of "creative frenzy." I can totally relate. I'm too old to stay up until 2:30 a.m.---but when I'm in one of those "creative frenzies" I lose all track of time. And yet, in some ways, that is when I feel most alive -- or, at least, not so old."  "I live in a creative frenzy. I see possiblities in everything and sometimes I have so many ideas running around in my head that I feel like it clogs my brain!"  All these comments made by creative souls seem to support my opening statement.  There is nothing quite like the "aha!" moment when a creative frenzy has successfully ended and there sits Salvador DeMadariaga's vision of matter conveying your spirit.  There it sits on your kitchen table in all it's wonder-"aha!"  Or, maybe it doesn't...

Frenzy-noun 1. extreme mental agitation; wild excitement or derangement. 2. a fit or spell of violent mental excitement.  The very definition of frenzy implies the possibility of a dark side to creative frenzy.  A creative frenzy for me is all consuming.  I can hardly concentrate on anything else as ideas of how I will accomplish this conveyance of spirit to matter ping pong around in my head.  Once I am actually working on whatever it is that put me into this frenzy, I am almost in an uncontrollable maniacal state where I will finish this no matter what.  It's the no matter whats that get you into trouble.

No matter whats have no patience and do not always make the best decisions.  No matter whats have repeatedly lured me into believing my silverware drawer holds all sorts of magical tools.  You would not believe the things I can do with a fork.  I once painstakingly took out hundreds of vintage upholstery staples with a dinner knife after I broke the tip off of one of my good carving knives.  The blade on the dinner knife was just a little too thick, so if I didn't wiggle it just right it would slip.  Every slip took another piece of my knuckle.  Did I ever stop?  No.  Stopping meant I would have to leave my frenzy and actually go somewhere to find a more suitable tool.  The next day, I was browsing through some cool tool gizmos at my favorite hardware store.  I gingerly picked one up trying not to bump my bandaged knuckles and read the description-upholstery tack and staple remover.  Who knew......

The drive behind a creative frenzy is right up there with the 7 miracles of the world.  Everyone knows that having the right tool for the job is a huge component to how successful you will be.  This does not apply to a creative frenzy.  It doesn't matter if you have the right tool as long as you have ANY tool.  I do not own many power tools which is probably a good thing.  A past boyfriend would not allow me to have power tools as he was sure I would cut something off that I ultimately needed.  When we parted ways, I immediately purchased a jigsaw not because I needed it or knew what it was for but because it was small and by God it was a power tool!  During a creative frenzy, I decided that the medicine cabinet in my bathroom needed to be recessed instead of laying against the wall.  I could do it-I had a power tool!  My walls are entirely wood-no sheetrock.  I made some nail holes close together, stuck my jigsaw blade in the hole and away I went-until I hit a stud and realized it went right through the center where I wanted the medicine cabinet.  Many hours later, the medicine cabinet successfully recessed into the wall.  I chipped and chopped that stud until I finally got it out of the way.  I completely cut it out with a jigsaw-a tiny saw made to make curves and intricate cuts.  Sure, it looked like Fred Flintstone had chipped it out with a huge piece of flint, but I successfully did it.  The creative frenzy gives you the drive and strength to do things normal people would never even attempt.  My sister was making a hole with a power drill once during a creative frenzy.  She was aware that it seemed more difficult and was taking longer than other times, but that didn't matter.  She put all her strength into the drilling and continued relentlessly until she had successfully finished drilling the hole.  When she was finished she realized the drill was set on reverse.  Who knew...

The creative frenzy is often the force behind amazing artistic creations, but it can also wreak havoc on those of us who know its gripping force all too well.  Lost sleep, forgotten committments, knicked silverware covered with scratches and the worst-no "aha!" at the end.  I just came through a creative frenzy and have made it to the other side with a satisfying "aha!"  My tool of choice for this project was a hot glue gun.  As the frenzy was winding down and I could clearly see an "aha!" coming as my spirit was successfully being transferred to matter, I became tired and sloppy.  A large blob of hot glue and all the spider web like trails surrounding it dripped onto the top of my hand.  I was gluing paper to paper and when the hot glue hit my hand, the pain made me jump and the paper I was gluing went to the wrong spot.  I had literally seconds to make a split decision.  If I didn't quickly replace the paper before the glue solidified, I would have to tear it off and more than likely would ruin the entire project.  If I didn't tend to my hand immediately, not telling what the repercussion would be.  I chose the project.  "Aha" clouded my thinking and the glue on my hand began to harden as it deeply burned my skin.  When I turned my attention to my hand, as the glue came off, so did my skin.  Who knew...

The creative frenzy.  Battle scars and afterglow.  Sitting here, reflecting back over my recent frenzy, I look at my completed "aha!" and it's difficult not to notice my throbbing hand that required 2 of my largest bandages to cover the burn.  I am almost certain I will be left with yet another battle scar gotten during a creative frenzy.  And I have to ask myself-was it worth it??  You're damn skippy it was....... 

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  1. Haha!! I refer to this as being on a bender. I've also sported glue gun blisters and it is very common for me to sport colored hair because I dipped it into wet spray paint (my favorite was when I had a green streak for weeks). Found you in the Etsy Upcyclers Team.

  2. Obviously, you get it Christine! And then there's the stain colored hands you try to hide as you sit in an important business meeting...Thanks for following. Off to view your blog!

  3. Oh Elizabeth!
    I laughed so hard I was doubled over. Perhaps I recognized myself too much. I once dug the tiles off of my entryway floor all night using a table knife and a hammer. The next day my closest neighbor in the town houses came over to see if she could help.i think she wanted her sleep. She loaned me a hatchet (still not the proper tool ) and I finished it so she could sleep. What about the time I spent a night removing wallpaper with my clothes steamer before I finally went and rented one. The glue gun is simultaneously a delight and a danger. The last time I used one I got glue on the very tip of a finger right under the nail so before I could think I put it in my mouth to cool it and burned my tongue.
    You have a great knack for finding the funny bone keep writing I need to laugh.

  4. It's great we can laugh at ourselves! Sorry, but I laughed out loud when you said you burned your tongue trying to "put out" your finger. Sometimes I have to wonder how I have made it to this age in life...

  5. You're so right. It's the AHA moment that makes it all worth it!!! Great post!
    Stopping by from Blogging Buddies team, and glad to have you as our new member! =)

  6. Great post! I don't craft nearly as much as I used to but you are bringing back so many memories! But in the end, yes, it's all worth the effort, even with the battle scars.

  7. great post, haha it is good when you can laugh at your self for sure...following from etsy blogging buddies.

  8. Hi! I am your newest follower! I found your blog on the discussion thread on Blogging Buddies Team at Etsy! I hope you get a chance to follow me back at www.artsandcraftsado.blogspot.com