Despite our best efforts to break the mold, to not fit in to the classic stereotype of the suffering, alienated and isolated artist, we find ourselves face to face with a certain inevitable and challenging reality of creative professions. We mostly work alone. Our long hours with projects might be spent snuggling up with a significant other on the couch (at the very least). And when we are engaged socially, at home, at the day job, with friends, at least half our brain is thinking about how we will resolve the current roadblock in our piece. This reality of isolation, physical and mental, needs to be managed. Coupled with the natural tendency in artists to feel the strong feelings, to obsess on situations, this necessary isolation can lead to depression and self-medication, a condition and response not conducive to most people’s best work.
There is a potentially ironic analogy to this challenging condition of isolation in the religious life. In the religious life an individual focuses on G-d’s will, attempts to subjugate the self and the desires of the self to that Will. While there may be great joy, even an ecstatic feeling, from a deep connection with G-d, there is most definitely a resulting disconnection from the world which can be disorienting and lonely.
Notwithstanding the tendency of artists to hold liberally or not at all in religious matters, we are experiencing the same challenge as the religious devotee. Not all artists will look at things this way, but Lolita’s crowd holds that artists are in creative partnership with The Artist. The Creator makes his demand of the artist as he does the religious devotee. Give up control! Submit to my Will! Feel some pain, some sorrow, as I do, for humanity.
There are no easy answers, and each has to discover ways to maintain balance, to manage the tension of creation’s demands and human needs. Thankfully, there are individuals (hopefully yourself) who have discovered a few tried and true methods to leverage that challenging tension positively. If you are one of those folks, let us know what you do to keep the even keel.
Lolita has been reeling lately, clutching at straws!