Tag: creativity

Freedom to Be

Freedom to Be

Last night I met a six year old boy who created a camera out of driftwood. He instructed me to push a button on it and anything I photographed would come to life. It took him only a few moments to invent this magical tool.

I was photographing him and his parents at the beach. The hour-and-a-half we spent together was fun and enjoyable but the true gift was much more than this.

So many times society takes creative souls through a deadening process. Trying to keep someone in a small realm of acceptable norms kills the creative spirit within us….and makes us think we are not okay because we are different. And let’s face it, we’re all unique and ‘different’ at our core.

I’m sure many who read this understand what it’s like to think differently or express yourself differently. I have met a great number of people who have lived their entire lives in emotional pain because they are ‘different.’ Their creative genius can be lost…and that’s a loss for all of us.

This youngster was such a light and could imagine inventing something from anything. I ‘saw’ him as a young adult creating solutions to problems on our planet or inventing brilliant new things never before conceptualized…so powerful was his ability to invent. Major credit goes to his parents who champion him and his amazing inventive skills.

He inspired me to give myself permission to create with wild abandon and imagine my life in ways I’ve dared not even dream. I’ve spent today reflecting on freedom and wholeness and self-permission.

It was ‘just’ a photo shoot that almost didn’t happen…but what a loss it would have been to miss meeting these beautiful souls. How grateful I feel for this old soul in a young boy’s body reminding me to gift myself with the freedom to be.

I felt inspired to make a logo for the new magical camera…to maybe inspire him to keep creating.

(A special thank you to this wonderful family for giving me permission to share their images).

Creative Madness

Creative Madness

Anthony Crawford
Anthony Crawford

He was working twelve to fourteen hour days in a creative surge to build a recording studio. But not just any recording studio…one where Anthony and his wife Savana can create their dream.

As I stood listening to him share his vision, I felt myself resonating with the impulse that grabs hold of artists and pushes us forward in a rush of energy that helps manifest that which is in our hearts and minds. Time becomes irrelevant and we can work for hours without a break. Such is this mad creative process.

 “Whether you succeed or not is irrelevant–there is no such thing. Making your unknown known is the important thing,”         Georgia O’Keefe

Photograph by Simone Lipscomb
Photograph by Simone Lipscomb

When a person feels called to live a creative life it isn’t easy. The pressure to conform to the schedule and life others live is significant. If you dare live outside the box it can be a constant struggle to stay there as our society doesn’t deal well with those of us who dare to follow and dance to our own inner voice. Whether we photograph, paint, write books or songs or poetry, dance…life lead by creativity is challenging. And many times artists are seen as weird, outcast, strange because we bring forth new ideas and new ways of seeing things.

If creative efforts yield success in the world, it makes it a bit easier for the artist to continue in his or her efforts as the opinion is…time is well-spent. But for those of us whose work isn’t well-known, we keep at it, swimming at times against a current of negative opinion and judgment….’why doesn’t she get a real job?’….’why doesn’t he volunteer and make better use of his time?’……’how come she doesn’t do ________? Many times the negative messages come from within ourselves.

Self-portrait by Simone Lipscomb
Self-portrait by Simone Lipscomb

Accomplishments are constantly being measured externally, where forms are always read from the outside, where comfort and lifestyle are often mistaken for success, or even happiness. Don’t be fooled. Our ideas regarding success should be our own,”   Teresita Fernandez

Over a year ago my friend Jen and I talked about the dilemma and pressure of feeling called to create and not knowing where it will lead or what difference it will make in the world. Of having the resources to devote to the creative process, the inner desire to fully commit our lives to it and serving the greater good but feeling at a loss for how to get the work out into the world.

SimoneLipscomb (6)Several years ago an independent publishing company opted to publish a book I had been writing for years. Sharks On My Fin Tips: A Wild Woman’s Adventures With Nature* was born out of my desire….no, my passion…to help people connect with nature and care about our planet. It contains stories of my personal relationship with animals, oceans, rivers, lakes and how nature is a healing force in my life. After several years of writing and saving stories, the process of putting it all together and seeing it in a book was amazing…finally. 

Then followed two books, a book of photography, Place of Spirit, and a children’s book on the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill, The Gulf Oil Spill Story. And then a project of poetry and photography with my friend Thomas Rain Crowe, Crack Light. And another project with Thomas with his translations of Hafiz and my photographs, More Than All the Rich Man’s Gold.

Photograph by Simone Lipscomb
Photograph by Simone Lipscomb

But then came the reality of the publishing world: marketing is vital. And I’d rather just tap into inspiration and use my skills to create a work of beauty. Marketing? Really? Sales? Ugh.

And so it goes. The creative process is maddening. It’s wonderful. It drives many of us crazy. And we continue because we truly have no choice but to do so.

If you do follow your bliss, you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living….I say, follow your bliss and don’t be afraid, and doors will open where you didn’t know they were going to be,” Joseph Campbell

Photography by Simone Lipscomb
Photograph by Simone Lipscomb

The energy of building something from nothing inspires us and gives us life, helps us breathe completely, fully…it makes us feel at home in our skin even when people around us might criticize or ignore our work or us.

Savana Lee Crawford and Anthony Crawford...Sugarcane Jane. Photograph by Simone Lipscomb
Savana Lee Crawford and Anthony Crawford…Sugarcane Jane. Photograph by Simone Lipscomb

Anthony’s in the grip of a creative whirlwind. As we chatted in his evolving studio he expressed a desire to see his kids off to school, to have a family life and be able to do what he and his wife love to do–create music. Rather than give up family or music they are creating the life they want, building their dream.

Cover Rich Mans Gold
Thomas Rain Crowe’s translations of Hafiz and Simone Lipscomb’s photography.

Thomas said this to a class he was teaching: The difference between writers and someone who writes is that writers have to write. They cannot not write. And so it goes with those of us called by some mysterious, inner voice to create. We cannot ignore the urge to paint, write stories, photograph, write songs, draw, play music, write poetry, dance. We must surrender to this creative madness that calls us. There are no guarantees or promises that our efforts will pay off, make a difference or change the world for the better but we really have no choice. To ignore the inner voice, the creative spark that ignites us with inspiration is to die while breathing.

*Sharks On My Fin Tips, Grateful Steps Publishing House, 2008.

Check out Anthony and Savana Crawford’s wonderful music with their duo, Sugarcane Jane and with Willie Sugarcapps.

 

 

 

 

 

The Creative Process

The Creative Process

simonelipscomb (3)It’s messy, never linear, filled with interruptions and unexpected flashes of inspiration. And unexpected help…I cannot forget his help or Stanley would protest. My orange tabby friend is negotiating co-author status on the new book in process.

Today’s substantial rainfall prompted me to hunker-down and bring the outline of my book into form and to set up the ebook formatting…not my favorite part of the creative process….but a necessary one. The energy of this project is pushing me to create the form that will contain it. I got a good lesson in that ability last night.

I sat on the front row of an intimate Ben Taylor concert and marveled at his talent…not just his songwriting, singing and guitar-playing but the ability to create through electronic gadgetry. Observing his process inspired me to move forward courageously. He balanced the music flowing through him with knowledge of how to operate his toys. It seemed a perfect balance of passion and flow.

simonelipscomb (5)And speaking of flow–during a break from the torrential water pouring from the sky, I needed a break so took a walk and saw the river near my home flowing wildly. If I wasn’t concerned about high bacteria counts that comes with flooding, I would have been tempted to don a life vest and take my SUP board out for a ride. And while I made the correct decision for safety, a girl can still dream of racing downriver using her paddle only for steering. Alas, my project called me back home and I resisted the temptation to allow distractions to change my focus.

a little friend greeted me on my walk to the river
a little friend greeted me on my walk to the river

During this rainy day, fits of writing and organizing the project were interrupted with much-needed breaks such as my walkabout. These times of movement and stimulus, away from the computer, kept the process fresh and exciting. And while assistance is always appreciated, I must say that it’s not always helpful. And yet having my arms filled with a loving little helper, the creative process was boosted to greater levels. Stanley approved of the music and dozed happily as I engaged in the process of birthing a new book.

simonelipscomb (2)