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The Creative Nerve

Have you ever touched a creative nerve? Have you ever tapped into that deeper well of conscience, that special reservoir where ideas flow from brain to fingertip to canvas? Perhaps you are a poet, a sculptor, a musician… Regardless of your passion, there is a brilliant gift within that compels us to create, to be in tune with the universe at large. It is a calling to reveal our true philosophy and wisdom. It is called imagination, and this article explores just a few small nuances of those deeper creative tendencies – our personal journey through expression. Enjoy…

For most creative beings, the ability to generate compelling works is a perfect storm of passion, experience, and desire. Whether it is some spectacular painting or a brilliant movement of words, the ability to inspire demands a special appetite from its creator, a hunger to reach within and pull from the very marrow of life itself.

To say we are mesmerized by the creative process is an understatement. It is a mystery that haunts our intellect, a cognitive impulse that must be obeyed. Against all reason or logic, we must find an outlet for this deeper sense of expression.

From the beginning of time, back when humans first drew pictures on cave walls, our species has been called to dream. We have been called to examine this age-old riddle which begs us to communicate, to express through math and science, visuals and word.

Whether abstract or literal, we could never build temples or pyramids, places of worship adorned with pictographs and iconography, symbolic references capturing our time in the stars. Without dreamers, none of this would be possible.

Indeed, we all tell a much more intimate story through art and personal literature. We share our dreams and beliefs, our faith and worldly influence. Throughout the long thread of history, our destiny has been recorded. But what exactly is this impulse to create, this urge to impress our will upon future generations?

Who knows… Painters, poets, sculptors… Each gifted medium accepts this divine call to arms. They are the blueprints of our destiny. These impulses compel us to produce stunning works of art, moving symphonies, epic poems that transcend the ages.

Such works are blessed beyond psychology. They are the untamed hearts of passion, wild horses in the snow, the tragedy and triumph of the human condition. It is this secret whisper which guides our brush to the virgin canvas.

These impulses shape our culture. They help us learn and grow, remind us of compassion and love, chaos and war. They are depictions of truth, and within that truth comes the sad reality of misunderstanding, notions of heresy and horror, enlightenment and joy…

Regardless of how or why these impulses exist, such romantic sentiments require acknowledgment, an affirmation that defines our purpose. This process requires years of discipline and study, a level of maturity that negates conformity.

Creativity is a random theater. Not everyone is gifted with a silver tongue, blessed with a golden palate. It just happens. Like a fever, a person is struck with the vision, an epiphany to share their souls through personal expression.

Indeed, this power is a gift, to change minds and open hearts, to mend what is broken. Yet it isn’t easy. This gift isn’t free. There is always a price to pay. To willingly place your essence before the eyes of judgement requires fortitude. It is a terrifying premise that also requires dignity and courage. To stand before the masses with your quill and sword, to bare the fruits of your soul, you must be ready to defend your perception of the universe.

To emerge from insecurity, to present works that are scrutinized or praised, worshipped or scorned… it is all part of the secret language. It is this unknown fraction of the ego which seeks validation, where legends are born from scented meadows filled with dew.

Yes. Shakespeare, Wagner, Michelangelo… each of these pioneers had the gift. Rodin, Frost, Van Gogh… they were all chosen to deliver their message. Come hell or high water, they put their indelible fingerprints on history. The conscience of humanity remains touched by their elegant hand.

Although the true secrets of expression may never be revealed, it can still be revered with high honor. It is an open slice of the soul with no true master, a process which our intellect will never fully quantify beyond our pride and arrogance.

While true expression may never be removed from the confines of math or science, it will always remain a distinguished virtue, anchored forever by our love for the universe. It is a supernatural blessing, a phenomenon exclusive to man, something intangible that will never be replicated by lab or machinery.

Expression is ours. We need to cherish it, protect it, nourish it. Above all, we need to respect and honor it. By doing this, we can preserve our legacy for future generations, a chance to say we were here, that we mattered and made a difference, that we really did care about the world we live in…

Aaron Towle
Aaron Towlehttp://www.repdigest.com/
Aaron Towle is a Multimedia Artist living in Green Cove Springs, FL. He proudly served in the military as a journalist and now works as a developer in the Defense Contracting Industry. He is passionate about art, literature, and photography and looks to continue building his credentials as a professional writer. He currently produces an online publication called Reprehensible Digest, which explores the subtle dynamics between art and literature.

18 COMMENTS

  1. Incredibly great and heartfelt article my friend. I agree with every word, and feel the passion and intensity of this work. You have really done an excellent job at describing what an artist is, what and how we feel about life and our craft. It is difficult for me to describe these things, because they won’t understand or grasp what it really is like. This article is the closest you can get to understanding. I will not attempt in expanding on this any further, you have succeeded in this already. Great work Aaron! =)

    • Thank you so much for your kind words Waldys. It’s true that most people have no idea how much effort we put into our craft. Over the years I had convinced myself that I would never get an opportunity to prove myself, that my ideas had little value, that my art had no reason for being. I wasted years with my head stuck in the sand like an ostrich. When I turned 40 a few years ago I decided I didn’t give a shit for this thing called self-doubt. I had wasted too much time worrying and not enough time taking action. Now I refuse to look back. The man I was yesterday was not the man I will be tomorrow… only a better version of myself. It’s all because the creativity factor took over my soul. Hopefully I can continue sharing and writing about things that matter. Paycheck or not, it makes me feel good to use this gift. Knowledge is power my friend. Nothing could be more true than that old saying…

  2. Aaron —
    Love this, Aaron: “Expression is ours. We need to cherish it, protect it, nourish it. Above all, we need to respect and honor it. By doing this, we can preserve our legacy for future generations, a chance to say we were here, that we mattered and made a difference, that we really did care about the world we live in…” These are our handprints on the cave wall.

    I dabble in screenwriting now and again, and I have experienced that mesmerizing process of which you spoke. Hours could go by, and I was still dancing with the keyboard. I was blessed to have a wonderful instructor who was a brilliant writer. One day I commented on her work: “You have such a gift!” “It’s no gift,” she assured me, “It’s practice and determination.”

    Maybe it’s both? I believe we all have that seed in us that yearns to create, to express, to share. We just have to find our medium.

    A wonderful inspirational piece.

    • Thank you for those insightful words Jeff. I am also one who gets lost behind the keyboard for hours on end. What fascinates me most is that words are free… We can all sit down and create messages that will help or improve society, yet most people seem to ignore this simple freedom to express. It is like ignoring a fresh glass of water sitting on a table. Evidently the soul needs to be thirsty in the desert before taking full advantage of it. Worse, so many consider what we do to be a hobby. Just because I don’t make money at this doesn’t mean it’s something I can easily quit. I must do this, I must create… My soul is not a hobby…

  3. It was a dazzling light of my morning to read your work as I tinker with the most creative and wacky looking ginger bread men. Opening up the cupboard and finding ju jubes, smarties, sparkles, currents, sardines (no, just kidding) and a few other peculiar ingredients.. My creative self-expression for the morning. What the afternoon brings who knows?

    I take a break with flour on my hands and a smile on my face to read.

    I pause and in such alignment with when you espoused “expression is ours”. When you so honestly delved into how with creativity comes a wide range of responses and opinions to what one has “mastered”. My head nodded at that one too.

    Wonderful work and I am respecting and honouring what you have put forth so delicately.

    Happy to move into some of that random theatre of creativity with you and others and do some soul-sharing today.

    Have a brilliant weekend, Aaron.

    Loving your creative chutzpah!

    • Always love and appreciate your thoughtful comments and support Maureen. You’ve simply been one of the coolest and most decent people I’ve met through Dennis, and one of the best people I know on Linkedin. I can tell you’re the real deal and I truly value your kind opinion. As for the creative expression, it was an article that basically wrote itself. In many ways, the creative gift may be fluent in all of us. We use this gift to get through each day, painting our pictures and accessing our deepest thoughts in ways we don’t realize. Perhaps art is another form of Chakra, or perhaps they are distinct messages from that great Akashic hall in the sky. Who really knows. I’ll let you get back to your Gingerbread men, I’m sure they are eagerly waiting for your delicate touch…

  4. Aaron, your excellent article has added a new phrase to my writing vocabulary…”be ready to defend your perception of the universe.” My teaching career pivoted on perceptual thinking as explained in the book The Intelligent Eye. My writing is based on perceptual mind streams before a single conceptual word is written. Thoughts become tangible and a legacy survives with or without public scrutiny. Appreciate the lessons.

    • So glad this article resonated with you Annemarie. I could probably spend years diving into this subject, but as it stands I must only reveal the choice bits and pieces that come to me in between work, bills and other responsibilities. All I can say for certain is that when I am creating art or poetry, I am not grounded in this world. It is almost therapeutic to create images that never previously existed, to put words and phrases into simple meanings that others can understand. Knowing this power that exists, I can’t think of any other way to live…

  5. Wow, Aaron. Not only is this beautifully written, but the message “hit me where I live.” Even though a I’ve been writing forever, it took me a while to put myself out there and show people who I really am, as a means of connecting with others. Now, there’s no going back. It takes “fortitude” indeed, and a heaping helping of “crazy.” At least on my case. 😉 Thanks to you and Dennis for sharing this spectacular piece.

    • Sherry, the “crazy” part only makes the formula more exciting and special. It means you have the gusto to take bold chances, that you take no prisoners in your spoken word. I’ve never known you to be shy or reclusive as a writer, and that’s exactly why I’ve always believed in you. That they don’t have the common sense to extend you an offer is their loss, and it truly is a shame, because I know what a keg if dynamite and creativity you would bring to any literary outfit. Just keep writing anyway, because what you say and how you say it will always matter. There are always people out there willing to listen…

      • Thank you, Aaron. Your support means a great deal. I’ve given up beating my head against walls that will never come down for me. As you said, I am going to continue “doing what I do,” and if someone appreciates it, all the better. Have a wonderful day, my friend.

  6. Aaron you are holding the Promethean flame high! Encouraging creativity is both wonderful and a responsibility which I feel should go hand in hand with artistic appraisal and critical thinking. Also good to see that you don’t mince words about the driving force of our ego which should also alert all of us to listen to Dedalus. The hunger for glory in ‘imperfection means perfection hid’ needs to acknowledge that the power of imagination renders us co-creators but can never forge us as the ultimate Creator.

    • That is true Noemi, the ultimate Creator gives us this special gift, and it is our duty to harness its full power… to shape minds and hearts… to prove we are capable of compassion and kindness. Writing and art takes us into a better place, and for me personally it is a therapeutic escape from some of the noise and nonsense we deal with. The sole purpose of this article was to let creatives know that their work IS important, that it does matter, even if no one is listening… we still create! You’re a talented writer Noemi, so you already know the gravity and power of your words. All I can say is defend your craft, defend your words and always stand by your beliefs. With this you can never do wrong…

  7. What a gorgeous piece of writing, Aaron! You are so right on as you offer your message in such majestic prose. I happen to believe everyone has a unique gift to create in some form, but not everyone taps into that fertile ground. Sometimes they are fearful and rightly so. Sharing their creative gift is exposing oneself to criticism, and it requires much courage to be able to rise above the naysayers who often cannot or will not do the same. Thank you for this Aaron!💖

    • Thank you so much Darlene, I left some responses on LinkedIn as well, but let’s just say that it’s my duty to be creative. I love everything about writing, art and photography, so this article was necessary for me. It attempts to appeal to all creatives in the hopes that they will never give up. Even if it feels like no one is listening, we still do this for ourselves…

  8. Aaron You know I love this story. Without Storytellers their would be no remembrance. Our children would never know where they came from and the stories of who their family was. Thank you for such an inspiring story.

    • Thanks so much Larry, and I agree with every word. To be honest, if I couldn’t be creative with words or art, not sure if I’d be good at anything at all. I suppose this is all a duty for me, and so I just wanted people to know how important it is to write, to create art… Without this gift we would be a very boring species.

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