Most engaged and alive perhaps when I’m deep into writing or photography, I’m doing neither just now. Why?
How to account for those waves of inspiration and vision that come unbidden. Or don’t? Small wonder the ancients believed in visitations by Good Fairies or The Muses.
Perhaps true artists are in some degree of control over those creative energies and can chain in place the invisible agents who help convey creative impulse to paper, canvas, clay or stone; to melody, invention or movement.
I am not one of those people who keeps such servants at hand. And it feels, to use the Oxford Dictionary’s word of the year, a bit like an “unfriending” –temporary, benign and without malice, but empty just the same.
I heard several physicians who are also writers speak about the greatest motive force of the arts: the awareness of death–something with which their profession is more closely familiar than most. And I think there’s something to that: with the imminent but uncertain end to our brief mortality, to know that our hands, eyes and minds have only this hour to create, to make sense of what little light we’ve been given, to leave something behind for others to see and say: this was life to him or her. This is what mattered. Kilroy was here.