How do you express yourself passionately, create something new, or find the push to write when all you want to do is roll over and hide under your bed covers? Can you really fight through those ugly, dark and long moments without motivation? Sometimes you might not. But other times, you just might find those rare moments of inspiration. I knew it would be hard for me because there is no university course, workshop, book or even Tumblr post that can fully help you learn how to find those creative moments. Much like riding a bike, driving a car, baking a cake or even fishing, you have to find a pattern, system or style that works for you. Something that helps you and gets you off your lovely creative well-formed ass. Something that makes you feel good about what you are creating. It will take time, but hopefully, you will feel a lot better knowing that you have found a way. Just don’t push it.
I would like to clarify that I am not trying to teach you or tell you what to do. Right now, I am just sharing with you what helps me find those moments of inspiration. This will be personal for me to share, so all I ask is that you have an open mind and respect my methods. It works for me; hopefully, you may think about something that works for you by reading this.
When I am writing or creating a piece with text, I like to start with music. Music that fills my soul with light, love, and excitement but also with darkness, power, and adrenaline. I am talking about the climactic opera of Middle Earth! And I make no mistake, the soundtrack to J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, directed by Peter Jackson and composed by Howard Shore, is an Opera. If you watch the 18 plus hours of bonus material, Howard Shore says it himself. Because of that, the soundtracks have had everything I needed since I first heard the music soar in the cinema. It gives me peace, forgiveness, hope, and the courage to move forward, lift my head up and look to the beacons.
What kind of hope and courage am I talking about? The kind of hope when it’s 9 pm on a Thursday, you are rushing to complete a show, and your boss yells at you in front of children, making you feel like a worthless piece of crap. But have no fear, for the Riders of Rohan have come to your aid and on the Fields of Pelennor are with you this day! The sun has risen to ride with them, and know that you no longer have to deal with that wrinkled old orc and her goblin ally. Yeah, I went there and quite frankly, I held back. For me, music is the overall diversity of sound, tone, and expression that gives me inspiration. There is just enough of everything. Whether it is from The Fellowship of the Rings energetic Khazad-Dum, or The Two Towers cinematic The Battle of the Hornburg, there is conflict, death and ruin. Perhaps it is from the final instalment of The Return of the Kings, which ends with a soft and calming Into the West sung by the lovely Annie Lennox. Every emotion can be reached while listening through these soundtracks. It depends on how I feel or what I choose to listen to that affects my work. For example, if I was listening to Concerning Hobbits, my text would have a sense of joy or peacefulness. While writing, I don’t think I would be able to stop smiling.
What do I do if I’m not writing something down? If I’m creating a movement piece, small concert, a painting or even dinner, what do I do then? I watch someone else do it. The main reason why I do it is that I love watching and learning from other people, and it works. By thinking to myself, “I could do that, but more like this…” it allows me to have a sense of confidence but also have a strong foundation to go off of. Personally, I think all artists steal, and there is no shame in that. As artists, we are influenced by other artists’ work, and we see what they do, study it or try it out and then do what works best for us. We each have our own style, and we work hard to do so. If you think I’m wrong, watch The Hidden Fortress and then tell me what movie it reminds you of you must. Then you will see and understand what I mean.
While creating my one-person show, Food Fight, for my devised theatre class, I focused on my interests in history, art and food. I watched hours of world war two documentaries, researched lots of paintings, and cooked a lot of food. My main inspiration for the food was from Netflix’s Chef’s Table Series, you know that series where the food is so good it’s pretty much food porn. The opening theme music is Vivadi’s The Four Seasons: Winter and it’s over the top as well as amazing. Plus, the food looks so yummy! From that, and adding quotes from world war two, I created three delicious courses of war. The starter was grilled vegetables to symbolize the scorching land affected by war. The main course of beef tenderloin cooked medium-rare and served on barbed wire to show the concentration camps. For dessert, a red velvet cupcake with a raspberry sauce to show all the blood spilled on both sides. Hopefully by now, you’ve lost your appetite.
On a much lighter note, when painting, you can’t go wrong with some Bob Ross. He always has a good one for you today. Suppose it’s not too late at night, and you don’t fall asleep while listening to this beautiful man’s voice. In that case, your painting will be full of extraordinary happy accidents.
After every project, there are a few days where I don’t know what to do with myself. The long days of post-show or post-project depression are real. Spending weeks and hours with people and then for everything to be over feels like a break-up. It is not as bad as a text message break-up, but you know that things aren’t going to be the same tomorrow after you have that really good night together. Of course, I’m talking about cast parties.
After the party is over, I find myself looking onto the next thing, but finding it or coming up with it is unknown to me. Therefore, I must take a walk. My personal favourite place to go for a walk is King’s Park. It is a safe, creative and memorable place for me. But it doesn’t matter where I am, what I am thinking or where I am going. A walk simply helps clear my mind, and it gives me focus. It also allows me to daydream and, with that fresh air, gives me inspiration and many crazy ideas.
If you’ve made it this far, thank you for taking the time. I hope you found moments that made you think about your own experiences and helped you find some inspiration. Was there something that worked for you? If so, great! If not, that’s even better! I’d love to hear what you do. Whatever works for you is your tool so use it. And remember, at the end of the day, all your hard work will pay off because you are amazing, and you will create a special part of yourself to share with others. And that is pure art.