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Coming Out of the Creative Closet

March 8, 2013

closet

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There is a sweetness in that quiet time before I reveal my creations to other people.  They belong to me and me alone.  It’s like having air and light – I have time and space to fully invent, without the opinions of others, without the threat of having my secret soul open to the world before I am ready.  Because that’s what art is:  the manifestation of one’s soul into the works one creates.

Still, when an artist creates, s/he does so in solitude.  The artist becomes so attached, so much a part of what s/he is working on that it becomes difficult to separate him or herself from it.  Therefore, it’s a natural part of the creative process to seek advice or input from a few trusted sources.

Let’s face it – you can hole up in your secret room forever, creating works that no one ever sees.  There is nothing wrong with that.  But at some point, you might start to feel pride in your work, and want to begin sharing it with other people.

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In the age of the internet and social media, people are no longer allowed much in the way of privacy.  If we reveal our secrets to even one person, or allow ourselves to be photographed even once, we may find ourselves thrust forever into the world’s digital archives, and unable to do one damned thing about it.

So how do you figure out which people you can trust to keep your artistic secrets until you are ready to reveal them to a wider audience?

I think it’s a tiny bit like what coming out is like for LGBT people.  It’s scary and a bit wild to put yourself out there to each new person.  Every time you reveal yourself, you want to know you have picked someone who will respect your autonomy and give you the space to make your own decisions, to speak your own truth, in your own time.  It’s always a risk – someone you think you can trust can “out” you to the public at any time – especially in this digital age.  Sometimes others think they know better than you what is best for you and your creative output.  You can end up feeling exposed and unwilling to allow anyone else into your secret world.

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Maybe the analogy seems a bit over the top, but in my heart, I don’t think it is.   Artists are probably the people who invented the introverted personality type.  Our works of art and music and writing are intensely personal pieces of ourselves, and we want to be in control of the “outing” process.

In the end, each time we reveal a new creation, we are bound to feel exposed and vulnerable.  We are bound to come across people who can’t be trusted with our secret selves.  But that’s part of the overwhelming emotion of being a creative person.  At some point we have to make a choice between being the secret creator in the secret room, and sharing our gifts with the world.

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Dodie Goldney

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related posts by Dodie Goldney:

Soul Sustenance

Refraction and Reflection

Dominion

Procrastination and Perfectionism


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One Comment leave one →
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