Validating creativity

I was watching Chopped yesterday and other than the endless stream of them complaining about seasoning — I mean seriously those judges never stop saying things are under seasoned, and sometimes for the win they complain about things being over seasoned — there was a fun moment when a cool chef from Calgary who also draws and makes cookbooks and other things won. Along the way to winning he mentioned that he wanted to win because it would validate all of the things that he does, all these creative projects that he throws out in the world because they seem fun to do even if there is never any real payoff or visible end goal.

For me that comment really struck a bell. He may be a chef who has competed on Top Chef and Chopped who actually manages to make a living doing these things but he still struggles with feeling his projects and creativity are a valid undertaking. I find myself having the same struggle all the time. Sometimes something happens that validates what I do but so much of the time I’m just sitting here writing things that will probably not be read by many people or taking pictures that no one really cares about. There’s that endless struggle with being creative. You have to just keep plugging along and hoping that it’s all going towards some unseeable endpoint where all your work pays off.

Or at the very least that your new blog — I’ll start a new blog and leave all the followers I’ve built for years behind she said, it’ll be great she said — some people will eventually read it. The upside is that I feel more like writing. I’ve spent the last year submitting things to places that will never publish them instead of putting them on my blog. Overall it’s resulted in me feeling frustrated and me writing a lot less. The waiting is tedious and the barriers to actually getting anything published seem immense. I’d rather write stuff, put it up on my own terms and never have anyone read it regardless. At least I will be writing.

Looking back on my childhood I feel like society never really knew what to do with me. I was that quiet kid who liked to read and draw. On the one hand people tried to convince me not to waste my life by getting a fine arts degree. Get a real job they said. On the other hand art teachers looked at my stuff and said you’re probably not good enough for art school unlike my wonderful favourite over there. So I didn’t. I wonder why our society is so unable to deal with creative children, why these skills were never valued and always pushed down (or insufficient). Why the standards for what’s worthwhile are so high. Maybe that’s why I struggle so much to convince myself that this is going somewhere and that what I’m trying to do is valid.

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