Ruminating in the Rain: Gutting the Creative Wellspring

I met my friend Anna, the creative talent behind Moochka, for a hot chocolate this evening, and whilst we were talking the subject of my nascent collection came up.  I remarked that I’d been talking about it for so long, people will be wondering if I’ve just made it up or will never do it.  As I spoke, I noticed an expression between expressions on her face; between attentively listening and beginning to speak was a quick flash of the eyebrows and spark in the eyes that told me – I believe – the raw truth: that I needed to get on with it and DO it.

A couple of posts ago I wrote about the toxicity and self-absorption of realising creative ideas.  The thoughts I had tonight triggered my feelings as I wrote that post, and I found myself thinking deeply about the next stage: the exposure, revelation or unveiling of these to the world.  Using such words creates an obvious connection with nakedness – in a way, you are stripped bare.  But what this process does not share with nakedness is twofold: familiarity and expectation.  Of course, no two naked bodies are the same, but they are recognisably human and that recognition precedes the familiarity – and reassurance – of seeing nipples, pubic hair, and other features or parts of the body normally concealed.

Yet, even these features are merely attached to or part of the skin: the largest organ of the body, performing a myriad of functions including holding everything together, or at least helping to keep your insides in place.  It envelops, contains and presents the bones, organs and soft tissue within by forming a universal membrane that covers and protects, possibly its most important function of all.

And for this reason I feel that the release of my designs and patterns to the world is a frighteningly vulnerable and horrifying prospect: it is skinless.  There is no comfort, no cover, no protection – just the insides OUT.  And for those moments walking home in the rain, my mind flashed as I truly understood why people say that it takes guts to do something brave – you need to have guts.  For if there are no guts on the inside, what is skin but an empty membrane or bag?  My skin has been the facade or protective cover for the churning feelings inside as I struggle to make sense of them.

The good news is that there is something inside of me; something that leads me to realise that the creative process is not only a reflection of the self, but an externalisation of the self within that is reified or made matter from the heart, mind and imagination.  And with this comes the simultaneous confrontation with the fact that this skinlessness renders me helpless in the face of criticism or negative reactions.  What if, after all this gut-churning anguish, my work is hated or, maybe worse, it is ignored and people are apathetic?

I simply don’t know.  But I have the guts to find out.

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