I am a neat freak by nature – my home is immaculate. I dust, vacuum, and wash on a regular basis. Everything has its place and everything is in that place. Of course, there is always an exception and mine is my writing desk. On most days it looks like the aftermath of a hurricane; on really good days it resembles what my imagination perceives as the aftermath of the apocalypse.
My desk is not the only thing that exhibits the delightfully messy beast of creativity. There’s that telltale blue (sometimes black) ink smear permanently tattooed along the outer pinky of my left hand, the fuzzy smudge bearing the mark of the left-handed writer. And on days when arthritis steps in to thwart my mad scribbling across the page, I turn to my headphones and the glory of voice dictation. But don’t be fooled by this trim compact contraption – it too, bears the tangle of chaos in the messy world of writing. I must be precise and even with all its high-tech capability, it may not always understand what I mean to say. My final product with voice dictation will still be subject to rigorous editing (and sometimes translation) to return it to some semblance of my original account.
Creativity is a messy beast and we should let it wander across the boundaries of our modest decorum. Inhibited creativity will never produce the same quality, discoveries, breakthroughs or rapture during its process. We should let it upset the apple cart, frustrate us, make us dizzy – it should take our neat concept and fling it like a deck of cards around the room, forcing us to crawl through the beautiful chaos it creates. In the midst of that chaos we will find our reward, and only then can we reign in the power of its destruction and produce the brilliant entity we envisioned.
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J.G. Chayko is a writer, actress, and international arthritis advocate who’s been involved in theatre for more than 30 years and has published poetry, fiction, and creative non-fiction.