A different kind of creative process

Posted by on Sep 30, 2011 in Art, Teach, Writing

I mentioned a few weeks ago that I’m pregnant (yay!). I have not been planning to convert this blog into a mommy blog, and while I love reading other people’s blogs about babies and parenting, I hope to reserve this space for my usual medly of stories, media thought, and musings on learning and process.

That said, I can’t really ignore the elephant, or in this case, baby, in the room. So bear with me folks, this post is all about the crazy process of creating life.

Compared to the creative process for writing, making art, or cooking, growing a baby is rather straightforward. Once the bun is in the oven, it just starts growing on its own. Unlike trying to develop a story for Anecdote, where I practice and revise, and sometimes completely scrap the idea and start over, once that little dude is in there, he just gets moving. (This in no way addresses how difficult it can be to get the pea in the pod to begin with, of course!)

As the co-creator, I’m less the artist and more the house manager of a one-man show. I’m providing the venue for the rehearsals and the big performance. I make sure the temperature is good, that craft services continues to give the talent sustenance, and that there is enough energy to power all the props he needs to make his debut.

What’s really crazy about this, and possibly what makes it even more like a theater production, is that the stage has to completely transform in less than a year. There is major reconstruction going on — if you don’t believe me, check out these before and after drawings showing how the mother’s anatomy changes. This is more than building a new set; we’ve got a new stage, seating, and even some shifts in the entrances and exits. What’s even more crazy is that once the “big premiere” is done, the theater will slowly return to something close to its original layout.

This all has been so surreal. At one point I was focusing on how to get the little performer to stick around, and suddenly I’m in charge of a 24-hour performance space. And it’s not just the anatomical shifts. I’m also in charge of a surging tide of new hormones, which cause everything from higher body temperatures to emotional shifts, turning me into the prototypical temperamental producer. Trust me, you do not want to be the person who ate the last popsicle in our house right now!

With all this going on, it’s no surprise that I’m finding it difficult to finish a blog post, get motivated to do laundry, or have the energy to start any new projects. But there is still a little bit of the artist left in me, yelling at the producer from a very long way away, “Is this all you can do?? We should be writing a new book, or at least recording some stories!” The artist knows there is a VERY BIG SHOW in the works, but doesn’t really care. That dude still feels the need and desire to make something happen, though the producer believes that is quite impossible.

And so, in the end, I must be both kind and understanding of both aspects of myself: the part of me that is working very hard to make sure this baby has his proper debut, and the part of me that is struggling to retain a sense of creativity and inspiration beyond baby.  I write when I can, and I make things when I am able. I rest, I exercise, and I eat what I should. And I remind myself that this balancing act, too, is a creative process.

[The image above is one of the few things I have made this summer, a baby blanket, still in progress.]


  1. Debra Joseph
    October 1, 2011

    It’s all very exciting! Change has the potential of pushing to creativity or frustration. I admire how change always pushes you towards creativity.

  2. Gin
    October 1, 2011

    Thanks, Debra! That’s really nice to hear! I feel like frustration is often part of the path to creativity, too 🙂