I long, as does every human being, to be at home wherever I find myself.
America poet and writer (1928 -2014)
I find that certain environments, both indoors and outdoors, immediately become creative homes for me. They are bright, light and happy. Such places ignite my own desire to create. It might just be a small, modest room, but if it is in accord with my own aesthetic sensibilities, I can move into my writing immediately, and if there is sufficient space, I can paint – as long as there is light.
My Space for Creative Flow
For me, like for many artists, my studio is my special place. It is where I love to be. It is organized because I don’t want to disrupt my creative flow as I look for my tools for production and yet, very quickly, it becomes disorganized because painting is messy. I am continually having to adjust my studio to the art on which I am currently working. Even though at times, my space seems insufficient and that can be a challenge, it has wonderful, natural light.
Large areas in themselves, do not make me want to create more if the space is dark, dismal and uninviting. For me, bleakness is a creativity cruncher. In THE WORLD OF GLIMPSE, I described the gloomy world of the Drooma of Sooma Sooma as opposed to the luminous one of the Glimpsibles of Glimpse:
Sooma Sooma was the junk dump of Infinity.
Whatever was discarded from anywhere,
could be found in Sooma Sooma:
the worst of everything…
and the worst of ideas.
If you have good ideas and you don’t have a place in which to explore them, it can be frustrating:
“There might be a place inside your head where ideas dwell, but having nowhere to bring these to fruition is a hunch cruncher. Most creative people need a space, however small, to be their own and to use in their own way. Many people don’t have this because of persistent realities such as financial restrictions that often mean too many people share the same space.” (HAVE YOU EVER HAD A HUNCH? The Importance of Creative Thinking)
A Place and a Space
A home might have many inhabitants, each with their own needs. It becomes difficult for people in such situations to find a corner in which to be alone. Even if they find the physical space, the sounds of others continually break their solitude. Sometimes, the physical space is owned by others and therefore under someone else’s control. Sometimes, even their emotional space is invaded. In an environment that is hostile or excessively regulated, it is difficult to be creative.
The space in which we create, needs to be what Silvano Arieti calls creativogenic. Some people need sunshine. Warmth and brightness enhance their creativity. Others prefer cool weather. A person can waste creative energy, however, searching for that perfect climate, that perfect place or that perfect solitude. Compromise is necessary. In terms of space, something very modest might do, simply a corner of a table in a kitchen or a worktop in a shed. Ear-plugs might help. Whatever you choose, or whatever you have to settle for, you can only hope that it will complement you and allow for the aloneness you require.
In Search of the Perfect Place
Some people though, insist that a room must have the right feel if their creativity is to be unleashed. Writer Margaret Atwood wrote that she knows someone “who feels he has to change locale for every new novel he begins. He believes that each place—each room or writing space— contains only a finite amount of energy, and that the act of writing sucks it out of the air like a vacuum cleaner, onto his pages.”
Raymond Carver would write in his upstairs study. “For many years,” he said, “I worked at the kitchen table, or in a library carrel, or else out of my car. This room of my own is luxury and a necessity now.”
Vladimir Nabokov was contented with “a first-rate college library with a comfortable campus around it.” Margaret Walker sometimes found the bathroom to be “the only quiet and private place” where she could write. “That was the only room where the door could be locked and no one would intrude,” she said.
E.B. White said that “a writer who waits for ideal conditions under which to work will die without putting a word on paper.”
No Perfect Place?
More important than finding that ideal space is finding what is inside your head, understanding your emotions and following your hunches. More important than the ideal space is spending time alone with yourself. But of course, how nice it is to discover what is inside your head in an ideal place that sparks your creativity!