Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Where did it go? (and will it come back)

I used to doodle. All the time. I used to write stories and elaborate, carefully-worded, fanciful emails. I used to have fantastical daydreams and nonsensical plans I half believed in.

I used to have walls covered with 'inspiration' and spend tube journeys planning my site-specific specialist dance company, or the magazine I would create, or the books I would write.

I used to always include 'creative' or 'imaginative' if pushed to complete that annoying exercise of describing oneself in three words.

Nowadays 'sensible' springs to mind. 'Pedantic' perhaps. Restrained. Messy. Busy. Somewhat efficient even. But not imaginative. Not creative. Because I neither imagine nor create anymore.

I never doodle. I make lists. There are no stories in my mind, just a constant rolling inventory of what to do and when I should do it. My emails are brief to the point of curtness.

I sat down at a cafe the other day and 'allowed' myself to doodle. But nothing came. My mind just wanted to list what I need to sort and what I could make for dinner. My university notes were never more than about 10% comprehensible - they always became covered in nonsense and drawings. I used not be able to stop it, and now I can't start it.

Oh you could still say I was 'creative' I suppose. I mean, I create dinners out of really peculiar fridge contents sometimes. And I invent nonsense songs on the spot as I potter around with the baby. And I have little craft projects to do (but they are much more about relaxation and an activity for me than 'creativeness').

I miss it. I miss that bit of my brain.

Is it just being a parent, I wonder? Half my brain eroded by sleep deprivation; the other half crammed full of constant things to do.

Or did it start when I left my dead-end job (and my colleagues there - fellow idling amateur writers/designers/dancers/musicians) and fell into accountancy, somewhat accidentally. That intense training does rather warp one's thinking.

Either way, I do hope at some point that it will come back.


  1. I know that feeling, wondering whether some training you did eroded a part of your brain. I often think that about medical training. Then again, I hope that when I one day have some space to breathe it will come back.

  2. It will come back! I promise.

  3. Maybe it needs nurturing. A little doodle a day... Time for a bath and some day dreams. Perhaps it is that you don't have time at the moment for it rather than it has gone?

  4. I'd suggest motherhood - I am the opposite. I used to find decision making and organisation easy and now my mind is a muddle of sorting 2 kids, a husband and a dog out along with myself.

    It did get better when number 1 got older, but has gone again now number 2 is here!!

  5. agirl - I can see how medical training could do that! that's some hardcore learning you do there.

    fay - ok! I'll trust you on that one!

    marie - i don't have much time, it's true. although in the last couple of days I've just stopped doing things which aren't Necessary Right Now and realised things still get done and I have a lot more time to relax than I thought

    K - I wouldn't say it's an opposite - my mind may be on sensible, organisational things but it's still a big old muddle!

    Been thinking a little more on this actually and getting more comfortable with the fact that it's change and all life is change and it's best to embrace it as much as possible - at least the bits which aren't preventable...

  6. When there is always something to do/someone that needs your attention/generally too much life stuff, I always feel this way too. It's like I used to love baths. Now, I find that I just spend the entire time mentally clocking up what needs to get done (not the same, but ya know :)

    I think carving out 10 mins to yourself each day, when you don't have to do anything, creative or otherwise, it will come back.

    And whilst it's coming back, maybe a Keri Smith book would help it along?