Whilst driving back from our church bible study group last night, I began to ponder my various creative exercises over the last 25 years and why I came to partake of them.
I started drawing, composing and writing poetry in high school – started with purpose that is, rather than just random scribbles and singing during my childhood. I would go through stages of each, move on to another and then forget about it until years later.
I began to compose music on my computer in late 1991 when I joined a demo group known as “The Solution”, later we were all inducted into Chrome. Though I drew a series of comic strips in high school, I wouldn’t pick up a pencil with any great enthusiasm until 2003. I wrote a lot of song lyrics and poems in high school and again in my college years, but didn’t write again until 2007.
All of these abilities would lay dormant until someone gave me cause to try again. Always it was a woman.
S1 caused me much heartache, alternating regularly between flirtation and rejection, that the only way I could express and release my pain and anguish was through music – she became the inspiration for many a sad, melancholy but often beautiful tune.
S2 inspired me to start drawing again, though I knew she loved a friend of mine – I was not in her league of talent but I had the energy and motivation to start writing stories and comic strips again, many of which were published in a local fanzine and on their website.
L got me into writing poems again – though I knew she was a bad influence, I was quite fascinated by her. She had a Steve Jobs style “reality distortion field” around her – you knew that she was using you and yet you did what she wanted anyway. I was a secret admirer who watched her from the shadows and took inspiration from her actions.
And then there was J, who taught me about blogging, maintaining websites and encouraged me to journal and write essays – this website itself was through her encouragement. Though I had my own site before and wrote articles on a semi-regular basis, all the code was manually updated, untidy and disorganised. With a better system at the back end, I could concentrate on content rather than form.
When all of these relationships and associations ended, for the most part I stopped indulging in these activities. I haven’t drawn anything regularly for ten years, I’ve written only a couple of songs in the last 15, and little poetry has sprouted forth in the last five. Even my blogs stopped appearing for a few years.
Then I met M.
In a way, all these activities and all of these people culminated in bring us together – mutual friends and shared interests. Though M and I spent a lot of time together, it was clear that we only had a future together if I were a Christian. I had considered myself one but I rejected church due to so many unfortunate experiences over the years – elitist “holier than thou” types, corruption in the church and some occasionally terrifying “head in a bucket” displays of ignorance. M made it clear that my concept of faith was misguided, not entirely wrong but close enough, and that I should visit her church to learn more.
In that respect, I was very fortunate – the church she attended was lead by a pastor who taught well, and taught enthusiastically. More importantly, he was extremely well read so could teach us proper historical context, important background information and even address translation errors from the original Greek, Hebrew, Latin and Aramaic texts. I was fascinated.
After church, M and I would often go out to lunch together to discuss what we had learned that morning – I would go home and read my bible afterwards, taking time out every lunch time and bedtime to read more. I started with a disintegrating Good News bible that my brother had from primary school, later investing in an English Standard Version and later a New International Version as I read more.
In time, we grew closer together – later in the year, M and I started dating officially (though many of our friends had thought we had already been dating for a couple of years by this time, we fit together so well). In time, we got engaged and then a year ago, we married. All brought together through our mutual love of Christ.
But what of the creative tasks that I wrote of earlier – where was the inspiration that M brought me?
I wrote only one song during this time, recycling an older tune that I could not think what to do with and wrote some new lyrics about wrestling (of all things). I tried my hand at drawing again, sketching abstract images during the evening services after the congregation had shared a meal together, but after a few attempts, I stopped. Very little poetry came forth, even though M herself was a poet. I still wrote journals and essays from time to time, but only when I was alone.
Was my wife draining all of my creative energy?
Then thinking about it last night, I realised that my wife inspired me in a different fashion – creative energy doesn’t always manifest itself in an outward fashion. Sometimes it motivates you to absorb knowledge, art, music and literature around you to turn it into something new, different or fresh.
Previously, my journal entries were primarily about computers, sometimes about gardening, photography or politics, and sometimes just rants and frustrations – a way of exorcising my demons that instead entrapped them and held them up to remind me of their existence constantly. Many of those older posts are still here but removed from view.
Instead now, I write about Christ – something I had never done before. I write to raise people up rather than putting them down. I write to provoke though and consideration, instead of argument.
In time, my music, my art, my poetry and storytelling, my photography skills will be called on again, but not until God requires them of me. They are on standby until then. Not forgotten or lost, merely resting.