Late night creativity

When I was younger, in high school and college, people called me extremely creative. Among my favorite activities (before high-speed internet was readily available to me) included drawing in pencil, charcoal, or chalk pastel and writing poems and short fiction stories. I filled sketchbook after sketchbook with penciled illustrations, still lifes, cartoons, and perspective designs. (Oh! How I loved perspective design!)

Most nights during high school I would be awake until 2- or 3am. In this time I would finish calculus homework, read non-required books, sketch or paint, or write short stories. I learned to do all these activities with a book light or night light, as my parents would yell at me to sleep if they woke up in the night to pee and noticed my bedroom lights still burning bright.

In college I took a painting course and came away with a love for acrylic—I never could get the hang of oil. More sketchbooks were filled. I submitted a couple drawings to the literary magazine. Late into the night I would listen to the radio and my cassettes, writing articles for the newspaper, of which I was an entertainment editor.

Weekends were wonderful in the spring of 1997 because I found an activity that seemed perfectly timed for me: a local theater showing Rocky Horror Picture Show with a live cast. Most Sunday mornings I would arrive back at the dorms around 4am and immediately fall asleep, snoozing soundly until lunch.

All of these things have ceased, or have become so dramatically sporadic that people are surprised when I present a piece of art. “You did that?” they exclaim, “I didn’t know you could draw.”

I can’t remember the last time I picked up a pencil and made an impression in my sketchbook. Fictional worlds and characters lie undeveloped in my head, when they should be on paper—or in this electronic age, stored on my thumb drive. I miss writing and drawing… for the beauty of creating something from nothing, taking a blank page, performing some magical acts, and leaving with awesomeness.

Lately, knitting has filled this void in me. Some yarn, a few needles, a pattern, and in a week (or a month or a couple hours, in some cases) there’s this item that wasn’t there before! As much as I love knitting, though, it’s not the same.

I’ve since noticed the drop of creativity coincided with my stretch of steady employment starting in June 2000. Since then, I’ve worked with just a two-month unemployment break last winter. The number of creative pieces I’ve produced since then?

Just two: this and this, both, I believe, worked late at night while my husband slept.

Is there a direct relation between my lack of creativity and my conforming to a “lark lifestyle”? Maybe. Perhaps. Probably? I’ll be searching the internet for blogs or articles, hoping to run across a similar experience.

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