Cecil Vortex has been producing great interviews with many creative people in quite diverse areas of creative expression. I’ve been going back to look at some of these interviews from earlier in the year. Among these is an interview with choreographer Natalie Marrone.
Though my own strengths are very far removed from the purely kinesthetic attributes of dance, I find it fascinating to get the perspective of dancers and choreographers: the physical experience, the impulse to move. One interesting response in Marrone’s comments was on staying in touch with her creative voice.
I had this teacher once who used to always say, “Make sure you keep up — if you keep up, you’ll be kept up.” I know that sounds kind of weird, but what it means is, keep up with, stay in touch with your work. Because the universe supports you in what you’re meant to do. And if you’re doing what you’re meant to do, and you’re keeping up with the work and keeping up with the investigation that you were meant to do, then you’ll be kept up. It’s that day-by-day interaction with your creative self, I think, that keeps you up, and keeps you fresh.…
I need to keep up. I need to stay in touch. And that doesn’t mean don’t take a break. That doesn’t mean don’t have good boundaries. That doesn’t mean be obsessive. But it means just don’t let that creative part of you slip away mysteriously for a week without giving yourself enough time and space to tap in and speak to those people that need to come through the body this week, whoever they are.
Not only was this a timely message for me to receive, given the many distractions from creative work I’ve found over the past few months, it really connected to my intuitive experience of the creative person at work. Creative expression is a practice, as meditation is a practice. We stay sharp by practicing our art.
A wonderful professor I had the honor of studying with at Truman State University, Ben Bennani (now of United Arab Emirates University), once said that you must never abandon something you create. As creative people we cannot infer from this a preciousness to everything we create. The statement unfolds, though. What we invest in our creative work comes back to us, rewards us. We may not get it right the first time we try to express it, but in that practice, we’ve created pathways to that emotional experience, and our work grows.