Every year around this time, if I am in my hometown, I begin to notice something happening to me. I begin to want to hibernate.
Not exactly hibernate. I don’t really want to sleep. I just want to stay home and do something on my own. Something creative.
Now, I know to others it may seem that I am ALWAYS being creative. That’s fairly true. I almost always prefer to make or do something over being an audience, or recipient of someone else’s art.
But it gets more intense in the winter. (Or what we call “winter” here in L.A., which is as much like winter anywhere else as kombucha is to single malt.)
My impulse is to quietly and inconspicuously tiptoe into my studio and MAKE something. I’m feeling that impulse very strongly right now, on the eve of Thanksgiving, which is actually a bit early in the season for this to hit me.
I know enough about myself to be dead sure that in a few hours or days I will give in, and my family will be asking each other, “Anybody seen Jim?”
I’m sure I’m not alone. You might share this feeling, the urge to go off alone and make something that only you really ever even think up to do.
The creative impulse, which I believe resides in everyone, is a very compelling thing. Exercised regularly, it makes one capable of extraordinary things, sometimes very quickly and miraculously.
When we continually postpone or stall creativity, it can get pretty impacted, requiring some heroic steps the next time creative chops are called for.
For example, I know I can draw very well, since it’s not a daily part of my life anymore, I have to actually “warm up” before I tackle any sort of illustration; I sketch a bit to get my hand, mind and eye all calibrated.
For someone who has, for another example, withdrawn from the world of acting for some years, maybe even decades, that stuck flow of creation will really hit them when next they decide to get up on a stage– and it won’t be pretty.
Stage fright has a lot to do with the effect of having avoided audiences for a long time after one has been a performer.
I think one contributing factor to my own wintertime urge to hole up and get creative stems from a general slow down of business (that is, if you aren’t working at the airport, WholeFoods or WalMart.)
When the auditions slow down, and the agencies start to close early in expectation of the holidays, and businesses are all getting ready for parties, I definitely feel it. My urge to promote, audition, get work, make noise, starts to seem silly, like the wall I’m trying to push against is suddenly flapping like a loose curtain.
Eventually, it just makes more sense for me to just retreat and do something that works the muscles of creativity, if just to stay warm. I feel like some Innuit fisherman, holed up in an igloo, miles from civilisation, carving a scrimshaw seal.
So, just saying– if you are looking for me over the next month or so… you might have to ring the doorbell more than once.
And if you find yourself sneaking off to the back of your home, or into the garage for some “alone” time, don’t worry about it. It’s better to indulge that urge than to bury it for another year.