C: The Courtesies Of Creativity

The Wishbone Alphabet – an experiment, of course, with attitude, life and the eponymous soup.

Much creative work requires reflection, and it’s easy to get over involved with your self. Sometimes I am sat writing and my family want to talk to me. Sometimes I feel cantankerous about this; have even been known to mutter to myself like a seething little goblin; but however brilliant that interrupted sentence was, it is unlikely that the world will stop turning without it. I am (even if begrudgingly) mindful of the importance of the interruption.

I can’t remember why, but I was once asked if I were trapped in a burning art gallery with a cat, would I rescue a beautiful timeless work of art, or the cat? Most people, including me, would choose the cat, even if it were the scratchy kind, all spit and claws. Those that would choose the artwork might want to share the miraculous inspiration of the art with future generations. But without life meaning anything, what’s the point of art?

True, some selfishly creative people have made amazing art: art fuelled by the excesses of their fractured, imperfect selves. Sad stories have their own kind of beauty, like a glacier or a volcano, extremes that are stunning. A life that does not experience pain, isolation, loss, or disconnection is rare. We can relate to the excesses, they help to express our own troubled emotions. I don’t advocate a life without feeling, I don’t think there’s much to be learnt from that. I advocate finding a balance. It’s what I’ve been quietly doing all these years, when maybe to fulfil my creative potential I should have not had a family, or ignored them more, but then I also think, if you don’t know anything about ‘ordinary’ life, what can you possibly have to say about it?

I have allowed myself to be interrupted, and what I have learnt from this simple act of politeness is an awareness of being part of a present moment, which is unique and fantastic if only I stop to look at it correctly. 

 ‘If we take eternity to mean not endless chronological time but stepping out of time altogether then eternity belongs to those who live in the present.’ Wittgenstein.


  1. Couldn't we stick the cat on a painting or something? What is this, Sophie's choice?

    (tongue meet cheek)

  2. I think putting cat and art in a big sack would have been the best solution, or having a better fire alarm :-)

  3. Lovely meditation on remembering others. Normally I do, but if one of my paintings was in danger of burning, I'd grab the painting. Well, especially because my cat's already in kitty heaven :)

  4. I would choose to save the cat as well. Art is awesome but life is more important.

  5. Wonderful post.

    I love what you said about the simple politeness of allowing myself to be interrupted. I will try to practice thinking of it this way and living it this way in my own life tomorrow. Thank you for this thought.

    I found you through the A-Z challenge. It's nice to "meet" you!

  6. Thank you for your comment! This was a great post! I'd definitely save the cat but think your idea of having a better fire alarm might be the best one!

    Nikki – inspire nordic

  7. lovely post for C :)
    check out my D at GAC a-z

  8. That's a great analogy! Of course we would have to save the cat, but it would be tough to let some great art go.

  9. oh my. I would rescue the cat, for sure. Then I could paint it afterwards:)


  10. I would have to go for the cat.

    I get cranky with my husband sometime when he interupts me. Especially if it's something dumb, like where are my socks. :) Then he gets the reply, "I'm working."

  11. Thank you all for your lovely comments (sorry about your cat, Catherine)
    I have a garrulous son and we have an agreement that he can talk to me as much as he likes (when I'm busy writing/drawing) but I am unlikely to be listening. It is more companionable than it sounds!


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