Does grief inhibit creativity?
I've been grieving for my mother for the past year and have written very few hubs. Can anyone advise me about becoming creative again after a loss?
Write about your grief. Write about memories of your mother and your childhood, and interview your family members about their memories. You don't have to publish your work, but maybe you can share your writings, along with pictures, with your family in a blog or self-published private book.
It takes a long time to heal from a loss, so be kind to yourself. Eat right, get a bit of gentle exercise, and take things easy. At some point, reexamine what you want to write about; your mother's illness and death may have changed your priorities in life, so the things you used to be interested in may not seem all that important. What did you learn from your mother's experiences in her final days or while you were dealing with the illness and loss? Write about that.
You've changed; maybe your writing needs to change, too. My sympathies and my thoughts are with you.
Grief has inspired many poets, song writers, and novelists over the years. I don't think grief inhibits creativity for those who habitually channel what is going in their lives into their work. Some the best written material has to do with overcoming loss or having one's heart broken.
Even if one has no desire to publish personal feelings it's a good idea to write a journal about your life and what you've learned over the years. Grief gets it's power from holding it in. In a journal one can fully express themselves without any concern of how others may react. You always have the option of deleting or destroying it.
Letting go is never easy but life is for the living and it's an important step for moving on. I'm fairly certain our loved ones would want us to make the most of our time while we're still here. They wouldn't want you to be among the walking dead. This is especially true if you have children of your own or other people who love and care about you and depend on you to be "in the moment".
dashingscorpio, I cannot believe the high quality of advice and compassion that has come to fore in response to Kathleen's request. How deeply special and heartwarming id your answer also.
Kathleen, this may sound like a very shallow, harsh and non-compassionate answer, but there are times when we are suffering badly through loss, bereavement, loneliness, unrequited love and all the other hurts that the human soul is heir to, and we can either let it all press down on us and remove the will to perform the simplest tasks required to get through the day... (Takes deep breath, because that was one of the clumsiest, far too long sentences ever written by me. And I can write 'em long!)
Or, says he, getting back into the saddle; we can throw ourselves into creative work and the everyday aspects of living, with a strength that seems to be almost superhuman.
I honestly believe that no one has ever written a worthwhile poem or piece of prose when he has been really happy. Why waste time when the world is your oyster and the sun is shining? The best work is written when we are in the depths of despair and that special person is no longer there, or will never brighten our lives again.
What “Tra-la-la” poetry about happy days and fluffy kittens and little birdies in their nests can compare with a impassioned plea for a lover to just turn a well loved eye in your direction; what poem about friends and happy times can compare with the loss of a mother’s smile; the smell of that old familiar scent that only she could wear as her signature; the memory of the last time she touched your hand in passing, not knowing that it was to be the last time.
Kathleen, it may be a year, and my heartfelt regrets for your loss, but you will never get over the loss of a mother. And that grief won’t ever go away completely... it will just be a source, a font for some of the best things you will ever do, or ever will have done in your life.
"the memory of the last time she touched your hand in passing, not knowing that it was to be the last time."
I have to disagree with "you'll never get over..". We don't entirely "get OK with" or "OK again as us", but we do "get over" the grief and other issues associated with, say, the first five years following the loss (especially the first year).
I haven't replied to these answers because it's meant so much to me the responses I've received. I didn't want to write any trite replies. But thank you, all of you, who have put so much thought into this question.
That is a very interesting question. I think that time will be your best aid in reigniting your creativity. Such a loss is so life-altering and it takes time to regain your footing. If possible, let the grief inspire you. If you can, write a little something about your mother, her life, how you feel about her or if you can, her death. You may find it a very cathartic process and might be helpful in both your writing and your healing.
First, let me say I am so sorry for your loss. Grief can change how you view things. It doesn't mean you aren't creative, just that you are different. Work with what you have and feel. What new things have you learned lately? What can you share with others that might be on the edge of what you just experienced? Your creativity is still there. It has new thoughts, feelings and insights. Share those with us. God Bless.
I'm also sorry to hear about your loss. I think the answer to your question depends on the person. For me, I think I wouldn't be able to write for a while until I was finished dealing with the deep pain of the loss. There are other people who aren't affected at all. Still other people remain creative, but they're writing style changes for a while - they'll write about memories, how they're dealing with their loss, etc. Someone else mentioned keeping a journal and I think that's excellent advice. When you finally feel like sitting down to write a hub, you can take some of what you write there as the inspiration for the hubs.
I'm sorry for your loss. Grief can initially inhibit creativity. I went through a similar period when my mom had a long illness and then passed away. I believe there are five stages of grief that everyone goes through (according to Kubler-Ross), namely denial and isolation, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.This is a dark time in your life that will pass.Over time, grief can inspire creativity. Writing brings catharsis, then later when time has passed you edit what you wrote. I would suggest you try keeping a journal for the time being.
Use your grief it can help you. Sit and think about the good times you had with your mother and how loosing here made you feel. Write down your thoughts and feelings. It will help your creativity and also help you come to terms with your loss. Grief is different for every one but one thing remains the same that talking or writing about it is the key to getting you back to your best.
Kathleen, I'm sorry to know you've lost your mother so recently (and a year really IS recent when it comes to a mother, or at least a mother to whom we were very close).
The situations surrounding different losses and different deaths are all different, and everyone has different levels of creativity, or else different types of it.
For me (whether it was my mother, my father, or someone else close and/or otherwise whose death was extremely "impactful" as far as grief goes), the end of the first year kind of marked the last remnants of any numbness wearing off, but then facing some of the left-over "processing" that I'd be able to set aside (or needed to set aside) for later (once I could deal with it better without having it bring back numbness as soon as I tried).
Once that first year passes I think a lot of people then start to move onto a new stage, but it takes another few years (with each day, month and year being better and better) before really feeling "back to normal" and "OK". Year 3 feels a lot better than, say, Year 2; but it isn't until one gets to, maybe, Year 5 when one realizes what a big difference there is. So, it's slow, but it's usually certain. I just doesn't happen as soon as we would think it would or should.
Everyone's creativity is different, so I don't happen to think that "happy" creativity is any less important or "creative" than "sad" or "angry" creativity is. It's all an attempt to recreate life "on paper" in some way; and as far as I'm concerned, some "sad" creativity isn't really so much "creative" as it is "expressing one's own misery". That's neither here nor there, though.
Trying to be creative is one way to start getting your mind on something different, however; and I think the way to do that is to do what you CAN do at first. Go with small things or things that don't require too much of you. It may not be your dream project, but it's a start. From there, things like time, momentum and inspiration can build; but so can your emotional reserves build and continue to replenish. It will probably all fall together sooner than you might expect; but I think you need to accept starting slow and staying with what you feel like doing - not what you think you should be doing, or even what someone else wants you to do.
I difinitely agree with twilight lawns,
Im an artist by nature and I paint at my best when nothing seems to be going right. Think of it it as an escape into an alter world , where you can share what is closest to you. Some people may buy this as a public gimmick , but sensible people will see you to be at your creative best as it is not allways easy to sit at your keyboard and type in the words knowing fully well that once your done you have to open the doors behind you and get back to trying to fix your life together piece by piece.
Other than this I hope you get through tough times and put out good work no matter what your mood because im not trying to telling you that you must face loss to put out a good piece of work. All im trying to say is use every sway in life to your advantage instead of letting it knock you down.
Best of luck,
Caged soul: I love that handle. Thanks for your insight. I have been working on a novel since just before my Mom passed. That's going pretty well. But I used to have ideas for hubs bursting out of me and recently I'm panning for them.
Im happy to know that! Hope your novel makes a mark. Wishing you all the best
I think that Vice-President Joe Biden got this one entirely right when he said:
"There will come a day, I promise you, and your parents, as well, when the thought of your son or daughter or your husband or wife brings a smile to your lips before it brings a tear to your eye. It will happen. My prayer for you is that day will come sooner or later. But the only thing I have more experience than you in is this: I’m telling you it will come.”
When your heart is ready, this will happen.
When my father died entirely unexpectedly in 1990 I was devastated. I was consumed by grief and loss. Over time, things got better. Over time his memory filled my heart and mind in ways that helped me to become (as Eliot suggests) "what I might have been".
Thank you for this. That day is getting closer for me, I think. My husband lost his father unexpectedly in 1993. We finally smile first at his memory but usually there are a few tears still.
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