Sitting on the Creative Couch today is Icy Sedgwick. She is a writer, academic working towards her PhD in film studies, teacher, artist, wicked with a pair of knitting needles and constant supervillain.
Icy was one of the first people to encourage my interest in writing when I first started participating in the now defunct [fiction]Friday. Without someone to champion the cause, I may have let my writing slide away into nothingness.
Today she shares her perspective on creativity.
How do you define yourself as a creative person?
Creativity’s one of the strange phenomena since it’s not really something you are, more something that you do. You have your traditional forms of creativity, but then you have your approach to problems or issues that come up in life which require a creative approach to solve them. I do plenty of photography, jewellery making, knitting, painting and writing to satisfy the ‘creative outlets’ part of my existence, but I like to think I approach problems with a fairly creative mindset. Some people call it thinking laterally, I like to think of it as using the tools at my disposal to get the job done.
What is your chosen creative medium and how does it allow you to express your creativity?
I don’t have just one, it depends on what the end product is going to be. Sometimes I just want to capture what I see, so photography (and the creative editing that goes with it) is better suited to the process, but other days I just want to make something pretty that says something about me. Hence the spider fascinator I made.
Having said that, I think that words are my usual medium, whether I’m writing handouts at work, producing academic writing, or writing fiction. Language is one of the most pliable, but temperamental, creative media and I love seeing what I can make it do.
Can you explain your creative process?
I have two when it comes to writing. With one approach, it starts with a ‘What if…?’ My task is to take the data at hand and extrapolate potential scenarios. I choose the most plausible, and write it. That’s how I get the story. And yes, that applies to horror as well – when I’m looking at plausibility, I mean what would be plausible within that world and with that set of characters, not what is plausible according to the known laws of science. With my other approach, it all starts with a picture in my head, usually kicked off by a smell or a snippet of music. I work out what’s happening in the picture, and then that becomes my ‘What if…?’ scenario.
Who or what gives your creativity impetus and direction?
I’m not entirely sure it has a direction, other than the logical route from A to B. I have a creative idea, point A, and I want to see it finished, point B. I suppose the impetus is the joy of seeing a finished product, whether that’s a knitted garment, a beautiful photo or a piece of writing. I suppose the impetus is seeing it finished. So to answer the question, I think I rely a lot on my own curiosity, and my need to see things completed.
Who has inspired you in your creative journey?
Oh that’s a difficult question because technically it would include everyone I’ve ever met, and even those I haven’t. Creativity is such a broad thing, and I’ve been just as inspired by negative people as I have anyone who’s supported me. True, there are writers or filmmakers that I look up to, but for the inspiration that I use in my stories or my photos…I suppose it’s the world around me, and how I see it.
What are you currently working on?
I have different knitting and jewellery projects at various stages of completion, but I’m still working on the edits for my horror/fantasy novella, The Necromancer’s Apprentice. Once I’ve finished this editing pass, it’ll go to the beta readers and I’ll return to editing my Fowlis Westerby novel while they’re reading Necromancer.
What is your “go to” piece to inspire you?
Anything by Mozart. I truly believe that different forms of music resonate with people in different ways, and I tend to find that anything by Mozart gets me going. Sometimes a piece will give me pictures in my head that turn into stories, other times it’s just a mood relaxant that gets me in the right frame of mind to start creating.
How do you see technology impacting or affecting people’s ability to be creative?
I see it a lot at work because half of the students hate computers, and half of them hate doing things by hand. The ones that hate computers believe technology is hampering their creative abilities, and the others think that the computers will do the work for them. As with anything, technology is a tool that can be used to create different kinds of art, or to enhance existing art. It doesn’t do the work for you, but nor should it hamper your process. Having said that, technology makes sharing your creative endeavours a lot easier, and helps you to network with like-minded individuals. I love technology!
What is a piece that is representative of your creative purpose?
I’m not entirely sure I know what my purpose is, other than to create things that please me. Having said that, since I often do creative work to help combat my depression, I think this photo sums it up quite well – being creative helps me see the light among the storm clouds.
Thanks for sharing on the Creative Couch today, Icy.
Icy Sedgwick was born in the North East of England, and is based in Newcastle upon Tyne. She has been writing with a view to doing so professionally for over ten years, and has had several stories included in anthologies, including Short Stack and Eighty-Nine. She teaches graphic design and spends her non-writing time working on a PhD in Film Studies. Icy had her first book, a Western named The Guns of Retribution, published through Pulp Press in September 2011.
My blog – http://blog.icysedgwick.com
Find me on Twitter @icypop
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/miss.icy.sedgwick
Goodreads – http://www.goodreads.com/Icy_Sedgwick
Buy The Guns of Retribution – http://www.amazon.com/dp/1908544007/