Monday, March 28, 2011

A world against Creatives

I was reading a post last week on the Shrinking Violet Promotions blog, about misunderstood Introverts, and I got to thinking about Creatives.

It's not so much that Creatives are misunderstood. It's more that the whole world is against us. That may be a tough pill for some people to swallow. After all, some of the richest people in the world (entrepreneurs, actors, singers, a few select writers) are Creatives.

People are always waving around their stories when they make it. Bill Gates quit school, they say. Yes, that's great. Now. You can bet that lots of his friends and family were all over him when he did it. That's the stage we're in as Creatives who haven't yet 'made it'.

'You want to spend how much on a conference?'
'What do you mean an MFA? You'll never get a job!'
'You're wasting your life away buried in that novel.'

Western culture values thinking, and working, outside the box. Society is willing to pay top dollar for it. But you're not supposed to live outside the box. Paying bills. Deadlines. Responsibilities. Following rules. It's great if we shine at our art. But we're still supposed to take care of all the things the Practical types do easily.

You don't see anyone asking their accountant to write fiction. (Yes, Marsha, I know you're a rare Creative accountant.) But they expect Creatives to play by the same rules as Practicals.

There's an American actor who recently went off the deep-end. I listened to some of his interviews online and, to my mind, a lot of it is a few marbles short of a bag. But he said something to the effect of 'I'm tired of pretending that I'm not the hottest thing since sunspots'. And it struck a chord with me.

Not that I AM the hottest thing since sunspots. But I do pretend. I think all Creatives do. Because our thoughts don't connect the way a Practical's do. We don't care about 'normal' things. A few years- or decades- of trying to explain our rationale to friends and family and we give up. Because they won't ever get it. And really, it can't be explained. Eventually, we all just pretend.

We appreciate practical concerns. We understand that someone provides a service, and sends a bill. We understand that the money we pay them will be used to pay someone's salary. We'd like that person to get that money. We'd love to give them the money that is due. But we, personally, have no inclination to make an actual effort that will result in the money changing from our hands to the relevant parties. In fact, it would be great if the money would just get up and wonder off to where it was supposed to be, all on it's own. (I can not wait for the day that I have the sort of money to employ someone to do these things for me!)

There are always stories about celebs doing crazy things. And people respond by saying that the money and the fame changed them.

Maybe it didn't. Maybe they just had to pretend all this time. Tone themselves down so that they didn't freak people out. Try to be and do what society expects. And maybe the fame is just what the doctor ordered. A chance to be themselves.

Or maybe it's just me.

Monday, and that's what's on my mind.

(PS, I've gone volunteering on the Iwate coast, tsunami area, so no blog tomorrow. Hope to be back on Wednesday. Don't worry. I will stay safe.)


Aleeza said...

ohmygod Claire, i love you for this post. so much. i'm always struck by how people's reaction changes to Creatives post-success. right now i'm penning my novel and all my relatives are like, 'but shouldn't you be studying for your Accounting exams instead of wasting time writing? i can bet you once i show them my actual hardcover/paperback published book, if i ever get that far, their reaction shall change drastically.

oh well. guess that's just how it is...

Marsha Sigman said...

I am a Creative in a Practical world. It only works because of my split personality.

Ok, not really. I do love this post!!! I mentioned you on my blog today too and before I read your's!!! Great minds...

Be careful volunteering!!

Colene Murphy said...

Ha! I love this. I'm going to have to agree whole heartedly too! It get's tiresome pretending I don't say/think some weird stuff all the time ;) (not THAT actor weird, but still...) Being creative and an adult still believing dreams come true isn't so common with practical people. Oh well, their loss!

Aleeza said...

hi, claire. i'm back to tell you you've won an award on my blog! :)