The reason it is difficult to research facts about creative people is that they are creative people. Personality profiles can only go so far when the test subject’s brain is in any one of a dozen locations at the time. Sound like Dissociative Identity Disorder? Well, maybe, sort of.
Many years ago a research project was done by a chain of art stores in Chicago. I have long since forgotten the actual numbers, but they found something like 90 percent of children think of themselves as artists, while under 10 percent of adults do.
How sad is that?
It gets driven out of you, primarily by a need to make a living. Only a tiny percentage of creative folk can live on their art alone. The magical reality inhabited by creators of music or paintings or words — that territory so fertile for the imaginative brain — has very little to do with feeding the kiddies and kitties.
Then add a second pie-in-the-face in the disgruntling form of 2020 and, well, flights of fancy are easily trampled.
Or maybe not. Creativity comes back to life in the senior years for many people, that is an established fact. They have time, and maybe, just maybe, they have wisdom. But I think that I would now add that creativity abounds “during the adverse conditions of lock-down” regardless of age.
I have recently become aware of some astounding work being done by writers in our community. I am a co-founder of a group called Olympic Peninsula Authors; we have just closed the submissions for our upcoming anthology about prevailing in times like these.
We have been amazed by the number of submissions. Of course, we expected to hear from several beloved local authors, and we have. What gobsmacked us is the number of submissions from people we don’t know. People are using the Age of Covid, Fire and Fury to write. Memoirs, poetry, essays, rants, romance so hot it burns your hands to flip the pages. I assume increased activity is alive among composers and sculptors as well.
So what does this mean? I don’t know. Maybe it’s the same thing that makes an endangered songbird still express its heart. Maybe most of us have the need to stoke what embers remain in our souls. Maybe it means nothing at all but a wounded cry in the wilderness.
I don’t know. But what I do know is that the creative spirit is burning bright, irrepressibly so. I hope it is thriving for you.
Linda B. Myers is a founding member of Olympic Peninsula Authors. Her newest historical novel, “Dr. Emma’s Improbable Happenings,” is available locally at Port Book and News, and One of a Kind Gallery, and as paperback or ebook on Amazon.com. Contact her at email@example.com.