My Drug of Choice

Creativity is like a narcotic, and writing is my drug of choice. I admit I’ve dabbled in painting, sketching and crafts, but writing is the place where I can soar away from a troubling world and its daily irritations.

My day to day life is pretty much like everyone else’s – the furnace is making weird noises and the repair people can’t come until maybe next June; politicians are making decisions I would question in a sane 4-year-old; my daughter is struggling to find rent money; the weathermen are predicting mega storms that will crash civilization.

So what’s a girl to do? Hysteria or something else? I hate hangovers, I’m an introvert and devoted rule-follower. Drinking, wailing, and rioting just doesn’t turn my crank.

But it’s cool. I got this.

I pick up a pen or flip open my computer and I am on the road to a world where good and evil are clearly marked, the heroine triumphs no matter what, gold flows to the deserving (me!) and the elements sigh happily in response to the innate goodness in our hearts. The windstorms fade away, the roaring problems of the world are silenced, and the greater good is no longer a matter of hotly conflicting opinions.

I can breathe again.

Freud once commented that artists and the mentally ill explore the same territory – but artists find their way home. My mind goes a-wandering across blasted landscapes, through forests of struggle, and into cities of hope. If I can see them, I can build them. And like every artist, when I create, I invite everyone to come along too. We have things to do, places to go, and people to see.

We all realize that no matter how loud we scream, or how carefully we invest, the workings of the world are beyond our control.

Then what?

For some the solution is getting more – more money, more shoes, more chocolate. For some it is emotional tsunamis– jokes, abuse, anger, tears.

But for me, the real happy pill lies in creativity – the wellspring of vision. Our vision, individually and collectively, has created dance, statues, music, paintings, literature, PacMan, bridges, movies, skyscrapers. It has created the utopian visions of Star Trek, the heart of Oliver Twist, the romance of Cathy and Heathcliffe, the righteous anger of Beloved.

I need the soaring spires of Gothic cathedrals; I need Degas’ delicate Dancers; I need Indiana Jones, Anne of Green Gables, Sherlock Holmes and Harry Potter.

Look up. Look around. Look into the world, “…and you will be upheld in more than this.”

And so in my grubby work clothes, and with my apprentice skill, I begin again. And I know that out there, my fellow dreamers are beginning too. I can’t wait to share the visions of our hearts.