This Fall Quarter, students enrolled in Courtney Putnam’s HUMAN 210 course (part one in the year-long series to produce Cascadia’s creative arts magazine Yours Truly) are reading Elizabeth Gilbert’s Book Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear and debunking common myths about creativity, myths that Gilbert addresses in her book. In the following post, Cascadia students Bailey and Whitney address the myth that your creations are your babies.
Your Creations Are Your Mama
by Whitney Taylor and Bailey Hansen
Have you ever created something, and then felt a certain attachment to it that forced you to never show it to anyone? Because you were so utterly involved and attached to the creation of such a piece art? Why did you feel that way? What did you do?
There’s something absolutely freeing and lovely about allowing people the privilege of viewing your work. I say privilege, because it is just that. When you show someone something you have put time and effort into making beautiful in your eyes, it doesn’t only affect you, but it affects the viewer as well. In a powerful way. Because you can bet that the observer of your art has never seen something exactly like what you just created. This whole process of sharing releases something inside of you. For some people, this is a feeling of joy and freedom; and for others, this is a feeling nervousness and anxiety.
However, there must be a root cause to why one would feel a sense of freedom or fear when finally releasing a piece of work to the eyes of the public. And the root cause of this feeling is our attachment to our creations. We tend to naturally treat our art as our “babies.” In the book Big Magic, the author Elizabeth Gilbert explains this natural habit as something we need to quit doing because of the stronghold it places on the sharing and editing of our work. Gilbert states, “If you honestly believe that your work is your baby, then you will have trouble cutting away 30 percent of it someday – which you may very well need to do…you might not be able to release your work or share it at all – because how will that poor defenseless baby survive without you hovering over it and tending to it?”
Your work is not your baby. In fact, as Gilbert stated in her book, if anything you are it’s baby. Imagine where you would be without the things you make. What would you do? Where would you be? Who would you be?
So the next time you find yourself unsure of entrusting your art with the wings to fly and leave the nest, remember this: You do art the service of initially creating it, but it is the one who brings you into being. Let it go.
In the spirit of sharing and letting go of your work, please consider submitting your best poetry, prose, and/or visual art to Yours Truly this year! Our submission deadline is December 31, 2016. More details here: https://yourstruly.submittable.com/submit