We create not for fame.
Not for money.
Not for recognition.
Not for glory.
Not for the praise of others.
We create because it counts.
This principle came out of an article on pianist James Rhoades, “Find What You Love and Let It Kill You” from The Guardian newspaper in the UK.
Create because it counts.
James put himself through an extreme, almost ascetic regime: “no income for five years, six hours a day of intense practice, monthly four-day long lessons with a brilliant and psychopathic teacher in Verona, a hunger for something that was so necessary it cost me my marriage, nine months in a mental hospital, most of my dignity and about 35lbs in weight.”
I do not connect with the extremism (yet I can see the validity in it if you want to take something as far as you can go) but I do connect with the emotional response he has when he has put in the time and practice to learn and master a new piece of music; I apply it to writing.
“And yet. The indescribable reward of taking a bunch of ink on paper from the shelf … Tubing it home, setting the score, pencil, coffee and ashtray on the piano and emerging a few days, weeks or months later able to perform something … A piece of music that will always baffle the greatest minds in the world, that simply cannot be made sense of, that is still living and floating in the ether and will do so for yet more centuries to come. That is extraordinary. And I did that. I do it, to my continual astonishment, all the time.”
This is what counts: the emotional connection in creating, and in mastering a skill.
It is about the experience of joy in any creative endeavour. The joy in folding an origami crane for the first time; completing a short story; learning a new chord for guitar; finishing a water colour painting.
Doing it because it brings you a sense of completeness and wholeness as a person.
We do not have to go to the same extremities as James but his encouragement goes further to explore the “What if’s…?”
What if we used our time more wisely? Spent less time wasted on social media and engage in a creative activity? Spent a little bit of money to start a creative pastime like painting or photography? Knit? Crochet? Took our phone, shot some footage and made a short film? Used our time to engage with others in a writers’ circle? Wrote the story or novel we have been aching to tell for decades?
So many possibilities. So many options.
And we create because it counts for something.
It counts for the children whose father draws a new picture on their lunch bag EVERY SINGLE DAY.
It counts for the short story writer, novelist or picture book writer creating worlds for others to inhabit.
It counts for the musician sitting in a cafe playing her guitar to six people.
It counts for the grandmother making a quilt as an heirloom for her grandchild.
It counts for the child who discovers the joy of the world through the lens of a camera and documents his journey to and from school every day.
It counts for the dancer at the bar, perfecting a pirouette.
It counts because we need stories and art and music and film and theatre and dance.
Creativity liberates your spirit. It enriches who you are, and the people who engage with your work.
Creativity is a mentality of giving; giving to yourself and others.
Creativity costs in terms of commitment, of sacrifice, of dedication.
You create because it counts.