Posts Tagged ‘creativity’

My breed of extrovert.

Monday, October 17th, 2011

[Emily Dickinson — the ultimate hermit]

I love studying personalities.

I minored in psychology and think they are completely fascinating. Which is why I take a Myers-Briggs test every 1-2 years, even though Eric makes fun of me. Other than a single little blip of being more judging than perceiving one year, I’m a solid, time-tested ENFP.  I’m proud of my NF — NFs are a category labeled as “visionary.”

But it’s that little E that troubles me.

Writers are supposed to be recluses, of a sort. They rush home after 3 hours of activity to jot every piece down in beautiful prose, or capture it all concisely in a perfect poem.  They keep a notepad with them, whether real or imagined, observing their surroundings and making deep connections.

They don’t, like I do, fill silences with too many jokes, talk far too often and much, get home tired with little energy left for reflection.  They don’t crave interaction. They can’t talk for hours, if allowed, unless they’re talking about plot twists in their latest novels. And yet, that’s not the whole me, either. For an extrovert, I’ve always felt reflective and introspective, despite thriving on good conversation and the occasional soiree. I over-think, overanalyze, drive myself crazy and journal it all to death.

In the last three years, I’ve written so many cover letters and variations of cover letters that I’ve lost count — probably fifty, at least.  In that time, I struggled to come up with phrases to described me.  At some point I began to worry about labeling myself as an extrovert and similar terms, because it didn’t tell the whole story — how I left the WSU party to move to a new state where I knew no one; that I have no interest in superficial friendships; that I despise ever being seen as inauthentic or shallow.

At one point I  settled on this phrase: introspective extrovert. Months later, pondering its meaning and implications, I did what any 21st century young lady would do. I Googled it.

The third result was a personality website forum discussing ENFP’s.

After I tripped out for a minute, I got to researching — could this aspect of personality be shared? Do like-minded people exist? To the point that they struggle to pin themselves down and assign labels? I must say, for as much as I am skeptical and critical of online relationships, there is much to be said for the community that results immediately from discovering that you’re not alone.

After further Googling, I came across this, from The Writer Bee:

“One thing I’ve learned is that, unlike most extroverted types, my specific combination needs some alone time. This was a relief to discover this after recognizing my desire to sometimes say “no” to going out with people which I thought was supposedly contrary to how extroverts in general behaved.”

Bingo.

I realize that this post has been entirely self-centered. But I’m writing these findings in hopes of exploring more of what it means to have personality affect art — specifically, how an extrovert (even an introspective one!) interacts with self, solitude, and creation.  Writing can be a lonely and isolated occupation.  What must I, as an extroverted person, do to avoid burnout when I sit at a computer alone in my house all day? How can I thrive? How can we?

Have you had similar thoughts?

If you haven’t ever taken the test, I encourage you to  take it and report back here. You don’t need to pay for extensive reports — there’s plenty of free information online.

How does your personality inform your artistic process?

Rekindling the romance.

Monday, September 26th, 2011

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Let me preface this post by saying, first of all:  I know I am exceedingly blessed right now to have the time I have to cultivate my artistic bent.  I am absolutely the person who gets busy and stops blogging, who stops making time for everything I love doing. I currently have the luxury of not much in the way.  No kids, no distractions, no 8-5 job. If you work full time, go to school, or have little ones (or both, or all three!) and still find time to pursue your passions, I am so impressed and inspired by you. But if you’re an artist who has been ignoring that need, you need to read Jen Gresham’s post, “Making Time To Make it Happen,” right now. Please read with a guarded heart, and know that if you are doing all you can, you are already doing enough. This is my response to her article.

Making it happen.  Rekindling the romance.  Becoming a doer and a dreamer. 

Jen Gresham’s post last week at Everyday Bright was so timely for me.  In it, she compares dreaming without doing to flirting; you like an idea, but it’s not infatuation, and it’s certainly not love – the type you can’t stop thinking about.

Thinking about this is uncomfortable for me.  It’s easy for me to flirt with ideas. I admire them from afar, without committing. Like checking someone out across a room, I might like how the idea looks, what it does, what it can do for me, or how it makes me feel.  But I give very little thought to the parts of it that are hard to love, the difficulty and risk of getting to know it intimately, the hurting parts of myself I ignore and might have to face.  I just don’t go there.  In fact, in most areas I just plain don’t like commitment at all.

Here are just a couple ideas I have admired from afar but have not committed to: (more…)

Afraid.

Tuesday, July 19th, 2011

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Sometimes panic grips me like a dark stranger, pulling me thrashing around a forgotten corner.  It muddies my mind and smothers my tongue.  It only can render me speechless in the midst of an undertow of thought, dizzying and heavy and murderous, thought that pins me like a stuck moth to what holds me.

But sometimes, most of the time, it’s as quiet as breathing. This fear manifests itself as comparison, as apathy, as business, as excuse.

This artist’s greatest foes are fear and self: fear of trying and of failure, particularly with people watching, especially when something is at stake.  Fear of time-wasting, of comparison and inferiority, of pride and self-centeredness, of wallowing in the hidden regions of my mind, flirting with darkness, keeping secrets.  I worry that to delve into the parts of me that ache to create will involve pain, and that I will stay there, undoing my slow and difficult journey toward trusting Jesus with my heart and identity and future.

Identity.  Aren’t I over that by now?  Such an adolescent word has no place here, I think. I tell it to move on over but I feel its pressure as plainly as my pulse.

Creatively, I have this idea — I’d call it silly but that I believe it so deeply — that if I am to create as a Christian, I must always do so out of joy and abundance and peace.  That I can no longer claim ignorance in searching for meaning, because meaning is prescribed to me: “My identity is in Christ.”  It’s a cleanly packaged Christian phrase I hear and read often, and I agree with it wholeheartedly.  Ultimately my identity IS found in Christ.  I no longer live separately from my creator; the meaning of my life is the sum of His.  “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation,” His word says.  Hallelujah.  But when I read the rest of the verse, “the old has gone and the new has come,” I admit I am bewildered.

What happens to my old self?  The parts of me that don’t just get thrown away and replaced, but that begin to form into a Christ-likeness that still retains a shadow of the purposeful creation that is Brynna?

I am sure that I was created to create; I strongly believe that is an indispensable part of being created in His image. But I’m still working out what that really looks like on a daily basis. I am pursued and surrounded by the thought that my creation must be clean and happy and nice, and it often leaves me bound up and conceding defeat.

Joy, you see, is a troublesome thing that I can’t easily reconcile with my creative process.  Training myself away from despair-driven creation has not, thus far, been fruitful for me; I just feel dull, empty, bland — and safe. Too safe, too comfortable, and above all not myself.  Can it really be that my only exploration of the dark, messy, and imperfect is a means to expose its flaws, to point to the Light?  Or is there truth in ruin that is not present in the neat and tidy?

I do not wish to glamorize evil; I only wish not to fear what is true.  To untangle a knot, you don’t pull at either end of a string.  You prod the middle, picking strands until the mass loosens.  All of humanity is caught in a mess called sin that takes a little swimming around in to get out of.

More thoughts on this to follow.

Love,