The Creative Zone

The creative geyser — must release the pressure

The last two weeks have been tough. My days, thoughts, my sleeping hours, were consumed by stress: I wanted an answer for what was bothering me. I wanted it now. And I wanted it to be the best. I found myself bursting into tears whenever anyone offered a kind word. I cannot tell you what my problem was. Perhaps it is enough to say it was related to parenting and to wanting to parent well.

From below the chaos, Perspective would touch my shoulder with its light hand, reminding me: “Be grateful. You are healthy. The children and Dar are healthy. They are happy and they love you. You are all together. Concentrate on what’s good, and more good will come.” In my heart I knew this was true, but then the moment of gratitude would pass, and fears would take over, and the ever-relentless drive to find a solution now.

Lacking peace of mind, my creative zone zoned out. Unable to compete with worries, it became dormant, hiding below layers and layers of protective parts. This time, however, sleeping through the chaos was not enough. The Critic directed my thoughts away from writing by asserting: “You will never be a writer. It’s never going to happen for you. You better give up.”

I’ve been listening to Tolstoy’s War and Peace. “You will never write this well,” said the Critic. “I have no need to write like Tolstoy,” I argued. “Only Tolstoy could write like himself.” The critic scoffed: “You will never be able to create a world like this. You will never be able to create a story of so many characters, so real, so colorful, so simple at the same time.”

The Critic looted every coin of confidence, burnt every standing wall, painted graffiti over my most treasured pavements. Instead of resting till the storm passed over, my creativity found herself engaged in a survival war. “Is it true?” She asked in a timid voice. “Is it really over?” And then, as though disappearing into herself: “Why do I exist at all?”

No matter how often I affirm that I am a writer, still doubts and fears assail me. I turn on the computer, my fingers trembling, eager and yet afraid to pull my document up on the screen. A huge weight settles on me. I am unable to begin. Then I remember. In the beginning was the word. I type a single letter, and then another, and suddenly, without knowing how or why, what or where, I am sitting here and writing again.


Blooming into beauty — simply and easily

I still search for the answer to that parenting question I mentioned, but perhaps for now the crisis is over. I can raise my head over the storm and find perspective, allow the Critic to calm down, listen to my Creativity hum as it goes about its business, and let my fingers move over the keyboard, bringing my fairy tale world to life.

What do you do to quiet the Critic? How do you keep your creativity free to work its magic?

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Sigal Tzoore (650) 815-5109