I have been laid low this week, and as always have been visited by memories from the past and had a lot of time to think them over. I can look at my life and say how wonderful and exciting it has been, or look at it from an entirely different perspective and say it has been utterly awful.
I am certain that this is the same for everyone, and most people opt for the former of these two choices if they can.
Most of the punishing things in my own life have been the result of having an independent spirit, which is something I cannot help because it is the way I was born. Being born into a Presbyterian household, this was determinedly crushed whenever it raised its ugly head, but also because it is the way that I was born, it reared its ugly head again immediately. I became a secret artist, and hid behind a chair drawing and reading and speaking to the offending parent as infrequently as possible.
The internal world is a saviour. That's where creativity grows: you make a world that is your own and that can't be destroyed by anyone else. You reinforce your identity through the creation of this world and populate it with creatures that you can understand, and that understand you. Your drawings (or songs, or paintings, or poems, or writings) become your friends, your maps, your explorations, your justifications, the place where you tidy your scrambled mind and feelings. They give you a sense of peace and calm, a control over a tiny universe that can't be trampled on or invaded by other people's rules, anger, jealousy, violence or whatever it is you find disturbing in your life.
A piece of paper is a curiosity. I used to sit there with a pen or pencil on the page and the drawings seemed to just emerge on their own, pulled out by the touch of the nib or the lead on the surface of the paper. Now that I write songs, the songs appear to be floating in the air, always there, just waiting to be noticed and translated into words and sound. The world is therefore an endless set of possibilities.
Yes I have to go to work, call the plumber, get dressed, eat... but it's all there, just waiting to be discovered. Knowing this has helped me to survive through some enormous crashes and made the good things in life massively better. This is why I have worked so much in a field where I can help other people to establish their right to exist as creative people, not to capitalise on their 'skills', but to actually live their lives as creative people. The imagination is freedom.