Feed Your Soul With Creativity

I am always looking for an interesting person to interview, a new place to visit, a story to share all the while feeling off balance and a little bit loco.

“You develop an extra sense that partly excludes you from experience,” Martin Amis says. “Writers are not experiencing things fully, 100%. They are always holding back and wondering what the significance is.”

That’s me in a nutshell, struggling to experience everyday life, yet capture each milestone and adventure on paper.

“Every person who does serious time with the key board is attempting to translate his version of the world into words so that he might be understood. Indeed, the great paradox of the writer’s life is how much time he spends alone trying to connect with other people.” (A Forest Through the Trees, p. 36)

Looking back at my career, I loved the game of basketball because its fast pace demanded total concentration preventing this dual existence as an observer and participant. I entered the zone – a perfect union of mind and body – and felt peace.

Off the court, stories pinged off my brain like pinballs.

On family trips traveling across America, while gazing out my window I made up tales of people’s lives on plantations down south, ranches out west and Victorian homes on the east coast.

As a kid I daydreamed so often, I wonder how I ever passed first grade.

Globetrotting in adulthood offered endless material for stories. Even standing still in the field teaching PE in Switzerland, my mind wandered to my mountain view where I imagined cows grazing in alpine valleys. Lost in reverie, I’d forget to call off sides in soccer or out of bounds in field hockey until a student complained forcing me back to reality.

To be in the moment is hard for a writer.

Not only am I torn between the different cultural, geographical, and physical worlds of Switzerland, France and USA, but also from the emotional, imaginary ones between living life and recording it.

Yet writing keeps me grounded. I process life through words. Like playing basketball, I enter “the zone.” Without the euphoria. After a writing session, I am spent. My shoulders ache. My back throbs. I need to walk or stretch, loosen my limbs frozen into the shape of a chair.

But writing is a constant battle of wills between the creative brain and the logical one. Why spend so much time doing something that brings no financial rewards and few emotional ones?

I swear off practicing my art becoming locked in writer’s block. But inevitably I return to the blank page because not writing is even more excruciating. Blessed with a curse, my tormented mind is that of a writer, whether anyone reads me or not.

Without writing life seems empty. As if only in the retelling, shaping experiences, can I fine-tune the raw edges of my soul.

Stories unleash the mystery in our existence.

But damned if it doesn’t drive me crazy. Stacked by my bed, crates crammed with thousands of pages of unfinished manuscripts, half bake books, and segments of stories, ferment like a compost pile.

Why bother?

Because language links humanity. Writer friends I encourage you to keep putting your muse to paper; reader friends’ merci mille fois (thank you a thousand times) for honoring our connection.

Why does anyone practice any form of art? Why did my dad paint beautiful landscapes and give them away or my mom spend hours quilting and cross-stitching presents for others? Why does one person garden for hours pruning delicate rose bushes? Or another spend time in the kitchen creating new delights to nourish family and friends?

Creativity feeds the soul. Without it we would starve to death.

What is your passion?

Comments

  1. Clara Freeman

    Hi Pat, thanks for this right here:) I’ve been an MIA writer of late, not wanting to write when every fiber of my being keeps needling me to write! Okay, after reading your great insights into the life of a writer- I’m going to write again soon, maybe after the holidays. I’m rereading Sidney Poitier’s “The Measure of A Man” in hopes of inspiration to regurgitate a return to that abandoned memoir.

    Happy Holidays, Expat!

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      Pat McKinzie

      Oh Clara, I can so relate to your feelings about writing, but you must go back to it because you have an important story to share and I for one can’t wait to hear it. I will be the first to buy your memoir and already look forward to discovering those pearls of wisdom that you will impart. I have missed reading you. Happy holidays. PS. I have that same book sitting on my book shelf and my daughter has On Becoming sitting on hers, which I am next in line to read.

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  2. Debbie

    Well, Pat, the creative life is the only one for me! I might never become monetarily rich from it, but oh, my life is rich indeed. I can’t fathom not doing something creative, whether it be writing, playing music, beading jewelry, doing needlework, or whatever. I’ve always believed that if the Good Lord gives you a gift, He means for you to make the most of it (and anything less would be like throwing it back unopened into His Face!)

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      Pat McKinzie

      Wow Debbie between your music, jewelry making, needlework and writing every moment of your day is filled with creativity. Happy Holidays to you and your family.

  3. Rachael Jefferson-Buchanan

    Well done Pat – lovely thoughts once again. Where would you and I be without our creative writing outlets!?? I like to think that it not only feeds my creativity but it also keeps me mentally conditioned. If my body can’t dance the way it used to, at least I can dance with my words across the page 🙂 xx

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      Pat McKinzie

      Rach, I can just picture your fingertips elegantly dancing across the keyboard. I hope you and your girls have a wonderful, well deserved holiday season and a new year filled with song and dance and creativity.xxx

      1. Rachael JB

        Aw, thanks Pat. Seasonal greetings to you and yours too 🎄⭐️💕 I’d love to be in CH to enjoy the snow! ❄️

  4. Suzanne Fluhr

    A lot of your experiences resonate for me. I’m an almost recovered lawyer, but back when I was in more than full time practice, I used to enjoy going to hearings because it meant I didn’t have to multi-task. I had to focus like a laser beam on the case at hand. Some lawyers find going to “court” stressful. Once I got past the “I feel like a poser” part of my career, I found going to court relaxing compared to the “speed” of the rest of my day.

    To me, writing reminds me of giving birth, but I feel compelled to do it and there’s some amnesia built into the process, so that once I’m reading something I wrote that I like, I think writing the next thing shouldn’t be hard — until it is.

    4 years ago, I discovered Zentangle, a meditative art form—-think “doodling on steroids”—lots of steroids. I find it very helpful. It keeps me from throwing things at the TV if I’m “watching” cable TV news, and it actually helps me do productive thinking.

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      Pat McKinzie

      Thanks for sharing your lovely thoughts about writing. I chuckled at your almost recovered lawyer image. I have never heard of Zentangle. You have picqued my curiosity so I am going to look into it. I, however, would never find going to a court hearing relaxing.

  5. Sue

    Can’t imagine my life without your writing, Pat. You have made me laugh and cry, helped me learn and explore, opened my mind to new ideas, and lifted me up- all because of your gift. Keep touching hearts and minds with your written words, Sis. I really believe it was what you were meant to do. Even when it is hard. Even when you don’t think anyone is reading…..I am.

  6. Tina Quick

    Funny you should ask about our passions just now. I am seriously contemplating becoming a comedian. I figure now living in a 55+ community and hearing everyone’s funny stories, I’ve got a lot of material to work with. We will see where it goes. At least with writing, there is ALWAYS good material out there somewhere. Keep at it. You bring hilarity and inspiration to us all.

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