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Creativity, exhaustion, anger - how to work with or around it?


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I'm not a young man but have kept on with my creative efforts into middle age, having had a few years' very minor and materially dire success in my mid-30s, with a minority interest literary form. At the point where I was succeeding I could already feel the impetus slipping, and I think part of that was to do with a 'mystery' being solved, through meeting very long lost family. I mean that I think the encounters fed into  my sense of my nature at the point where I was on the cusp of becoming a more competent and confident person due to my minor successes, and slipping back into self-loathing. Before I'd met my family I think the path ahead felt more open.


But that's an idea and a suspicion and perhaps even a cop-out. The motivation may have dispersed also because I'd 'caught the fish' and didn't feel satisfied. Editors had accepted me but then I thought, So what?

I pressed on anyway, with diminishing returns. I made endless notes for a novel from about 2008 which has led to page one being written and scrapped three times.


Then five years ago I had trouble with a violent neighbour, in a situation that was very badly handled by the council and police. It became a serious misconduct situation, with the police and council both guilty. I pursued complaints procedures, internal and through watchdogs and ombudsmen, who also proved to be corrupt - there is much material on this online from situations across the country. What happened has shocked me to the core, despite my not being naive regarding English history and having witnessed criminal acts by the local police. It shouldn't have hit me like it did but until a person has been affected directly by corruption it remains abstract.


I am knotted in anger about all this and can't shake it off. I cannot sit down to write. Each summer I stay by the sea cheaply for a week, twice, and am very happy, untroubled. I fell in love with the place I've been going to and felt like moving there, where I think I could have cleared my head and resumed writing. It's proven impossible to arrange. (No money for it just as I had no money for the lawyer that could have helped prevent me being pulled into the ombudsman/ IOPC farces.) I am signed sick, and feel effectively retired.


Obviously art works get made based on anger, and it will be interesting to see what comes of music and literature in the next couple of years, though I fear there will be more escapist trash and blinkered hedonism than anything I can admire. For my own would-be works I need calm and mindfulness, even to render a story based on anger. It seems I cannot get back to that place where my successful efforts came from, at least not while stuck in this town where all the garbage happened. I think of just attempting a leap of faith and getting on the ferry, chucking my bedsit, and hoping that an opportunity presents itself after time sleeping rough, which simultaneously I fear I could not survive. It may come to it though if it otherwise looks like I'll just rot where I am.


I read the thread about failure and empathise and suspect there are kindred types around here. How do people here fare with this kind of thing, if it's happened to you? I would think there is plenty in life that leads to this kind of problem, whether something not dissimilar or a horrible divorce or just maybe being sick of the country and its direction.



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Barring your unfortunate specifics, I could have written this post fifteen years back. I spent a long while chewing over what was necessary and the one thing I could immediately control was to leave the country. Perhaps a little tougher for you post-Brexit, but it's the first step towards calm.


Message me if you want to chew any of this out.

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Apologies, I had a chat with GamesGamesGames but missed the notification that you'd replied, Pockets.


I do wish I could do something with what's been happening, certainly. The fact that the surface details are infuriatingly banal is part of what makes it useless, though there is the option, which I've hoped to approach, of writing something more universally 'enjoyable' which still deals with the same themes and allows me to process 'what I've learned'. That sounds the way to go but maybe half the problem is what you describe. True enough, I had a five year break from writing in my 20s and within eighteen months of resuming I had the beginings of some things that were published, albeit modestly enough. Almost as if my mind was still evolving techniques and so on even while not practising them.


At the point in my mid-20s where it might have been ideal to channel anger when I was writing songs more I very abruptly dropped most electric guitar-based music. It ight sound like I'm driven to repress myself and anything that could seem ugly or emotionally dangerous. I'm inclined to think instead that I want to transform those emotions rather than just let them spill around. Hard to say what's healthiest as both paths can be damaging, both modes have led to famous suicides in the extreme cases.

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