Every production of an artist should be the expression of an adventure of his soul – Somerset Maugham
Recently I watched my five year old daughter wander around the house and out in the backyard the other day with a piece of scrap paper, an off cut from the end of a roll of boys’ birthday wrapping paper. On it she had drawn some rudimentary marks, but she was pretending it was a map.
She was on an adventure that only a five year old can imagine, making it up as she went along. And it was beautiful to watch her creativity take her on an adventure (personally, I think Dora the Explorer has a lot to answer for).
What does it mean to have an adventure of the soul in regards to creativity?
An adventure of the soul is an exploration of what it means to be human.
It explores what it means to love,
to have faith,
to be offended,
to be outraged,
to burn with passionate desire,
to understand sorrow and pain,
to know joy,
to experience the breadth and depth of human emotion.
An adventure of the soul gives the creative person purpose and meaning. It means we come to a greater understanding of one another.
Every writer, artist, musician or filmmaker, every creative person, is an explorer.
Every creation and every piece of work is a reflection of his or her physical, emotional, mental, spiritual, political or philosophical journey.
It may be a personal reflection, a cathartic exposition that no one ever sees; a hidden testament.
It may be created for a broader audience, a mirror held up to society or a cairn that says, “Remember.”
To create, to express our understanding, we must first undertake the journey.
Sometimes we go willingly, eager to explore.
Sometimes we are directed by circumstance or situation and must go unprepared.
Sometimes it’s through familiar grounds, places well worn and trodden, well kept and maintained.
Yet in the familiar there can be revelations. Sometimes we see the familiar from a different perspective and capture a new thought: a simple piece of wrapping paper, a child’s embrace, the giving of a gift, the colour of the flowers in the vase as they fade.
Have you ever walked the same way, or driven the same route on a regular basis, only to notice the house along the street is now no longer? And then you try to remember what it looked like, what was there.
Sometimes it’s through unexplored territory.
When we are in unfamiliar and unexplored territory, everything is new, almost too much to take in and comprehend. We take notes, file away information, pictures for slide nights. It takes time for our minds to absorb new information, to meditate and compost and percolate until such time the idea is ready to germinate, break forth and be birthed into the world.
Sometimes the adventure takes us into the Valley of the Shadow of Death. Yet even in the dark places, sustenance can be found.
“It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out of your door,” he used to say. “You step into the Road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there is no knowing where you might be swept off to.” Frodo quoting Bilbo Baggins, The Lord of the Rings – The Fellowship of the Ring
The creative person makes the journey a learning experience.
The creative person makes it an adventure.
The creative person knows and understands what it is to be human.
And then lets others in on the secret.