Tonight I attended a lecture by the author of Eat, Pray, Love at the Schnitzer Theater in Portland, OR. I am always a bit intimidated when I cross the river into downtown Portland and try to find my way through the jumble of construction and one way streets, but I so wanted to hear her speak after finding such inspiration in her book. I was not sure what to expect or what she would speak about, so I was very pleased that she spent the evening speaking on creativity and art.
Her question was why is fear attached to the act of creativity? Why do so many of us fear failure when we create art, or, having created a work of art, fear we will never be able to match our past efforts. Her view was that we in Western Civilization began viewing art differently at the time of the Renaissance and began viewing artists as sort of a breed apart - afflicted people whose creativity is accompanied by pain and who were born with their talents and expected to suffer for having them.
The truth is that art is not the artist - we are the vessel that provides the tools and labor but something outside of us provides the inspiration and the voice. If I understood her correctly, we are the musical instrument but the music is a gift from an outside force. She felt we put too much emphasis on the need to always come up with something new and ourdoing ourselves each time we create art - that doing our art well should be enough.
I can't count how much time I spend in the fear of failing to produce the perfect piece of art and how afraid I am of not meeting the approval of others. Her lecture really hit home for me.
We are so blessed to be gifted with creativity and the ability to create. Why not rejoice in the creation of our art and leave our fear of failure behind? After all, we all share this love of creativity - why not band together and sing each others' praises and thank the muses for our art.