A significant residue after a period of creative confinement is that of dulled senses. It’s like being a dog that lacks sensory smell. When I take my whippets out for their daily run, the first thing they do is to determine their route by way of sensory inputs. Each whiff determines a trajectory and subsequent direction. If this sensory antenna was nullified, I doubt they would have any idea of what they were actually supposed to do, other than walk. In short, their fascination with life would be over.
As a creative, you certainly haven’t lost your fascination with life. Yet there seems to be a slowness, a dullness in the way you filter your environment. It’s as though the sensory signals you are picking up are either extremely random or else awkwardly merged, making it difficult to work with such distorted signaling. Unfortunately, this distortion generates its own cycle of creative anxiety which, in turn, paralyzes us. How can we change this?
Like the scattering of crumbs (see explaining the dots) intervention can be incredibly simple. Use what you have on you: actively start listening to sounds that surround you. You are surrounded by surround-sound daily, no matter where you are. Close your eyes to hear what you are inputting, paying attention to where sounds are coming from in relation to your body. Ask yourself whether it would be possible to translate such sounds to very simple mark-making? When you’re waiting for public transport, in a queue or parked outside the school grounds to pick up your child, start paying attention to your immediate surroundings in a different way. Just different, that’s all. Apply the same to your sense of smell, taste and skin response. The idea here is not to be doing something phenomenal. It’s about moving out of the dullness and into attention zone.
I’ll give you an example. Like millions of soccer fans across the globe I have been mesmerized by the skill and dance of these athletes . At some point I shifted from merely viewing the game, to looking at the sport as a possible kinetic drawing. I plonked my drawing surface in front of the TV, and subsequently followed the ball movement for 2 hours or so. Moving out of the dullness of ‘just’ looking, to seeing differently.
Like children, we need to [re]connect to the pull of fascination. Focus on the external objects of fascination (and not on who you think you are)