creativity

Creativity & Solitude: deepening the soul alone, with Brian Eno.

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I love collaboration, the synthesis of ideas born from rich and imaginative minds. The collective flexing of talents. It is my favourite part of the creative ventures I embark on. And in a world where there is much divisiveness, it strikes me as a miracle, that such diversity can find unity in the act of creation and a common aim.

Collaboration is an essential component of creativity. It’s a skill. In our world where ‘innovation’ and ‘progress’ require an impressive harnessing of aptitudes and attention to bring an idea to its full expression, discourse on collaboration gets A LOT of attention. But within the creative process, there is the equally essential state of solitude that all creators must learn to cultivate. It is a birthplace for ideas, but, perhaps more importantly, it is the birthplace of self and artist.

Solitude is choosing to fully inhabit your internal world. It is a sojourn from external responsibilities. It is being alone with your body and thoughts, dreams and anxieties. In this state of introspection, many things that normally go unnoticed have a chance to be discovered and claimed.

I’ve found solitude in remarkable places - in the snowy plains of an Alberta winter; under a silver moon at the banks of the Mekong River; wading through bioluminescent plankton on the Sunshine Coast. I’ve also found solitude in less remarkable spaces – in the soft glow of my porch light; at an all-night diner; in a parked Pontiac along Highway 1 listening to Brian Eno's Music for Airports and contemplating his genius.

In solitude nature speaks to me. She’s funny that way. She speaks in sensation, in the warmth of sunlight or the hush of a summer breeze. Nature speaks and its language is beauty.

I’ve also noticed how fears surface in solitude. Seclusion can be a jarring departure from social life. Our minds seek connection with others. The gaze of friends reinforce our existence, reflect our aliveness. Without them one can feel anchorless, lost in this mysterious, existential sea.

As creators we are all in two relationships – one with Culture and one with Nature. We are in relationship with the world of ideas and its ceaseless production, and with Nature and her godly dynamism. If you are successful navigating through the anxiety at the gates of solitude, you’ll find that it feels exactly like a Brian Eno song – expansive, euphoric, penetrating. It is a fertile place. It is a garden that grows through the act of contemplation. By this route, there is some kind of deepening that takes place. The soul gets finer, more sensitive and eventually, so does your creative work.

- Katherine Krampol