As The Storming Bohemian I have written a fair amount over the last couple of years about creative consciousness lost and found.
No one gets into The Garden of Making for free. No one is guaranteed safe passage. And often we find ourselves outside the gate. It feels sometimes like the childhood game of chutes and ladders. One misstep and down we slide. Then we have to find another ladder and on we go, up and down through the long afternoon until the final descent into the undiscovered twilight from which no traveler returns alive.
Are you laughing yet?
My own ticket to ride, not atypically, has been purchased through years of alcoholic indulgence, job losses, intermittent poverty, sexual anguish and family rejection. That’s par for the course, and plenty of fun overall… except when it’s not.
We angst-ridden, muse-muddled denizens of the creative underground willingly embrace our necessary outsider status, but sometimes (get real) it sucks and we deal with it by going numb with whatever tools get us through the night: booze, pot, walks in the dark, sitting around and not writing, walking about and not painting, listening to our iPods and not practicing. At these times we are frightened bored children chanting the age-old refrain, “I have nothing to doooooooo.”
“Well, then, go flush your head down the toilet.” My mother would suggest this when I was a tot.
Today, I just go to sleep—one way or another.
But being an artist means staying awake, and not succumbing to the slumber of an unexamined life. Like addicts in recovery, we artist types must confront our demons one day at a time, acting our way into creative living, always a wink away from a slide into the twilight world of indifference that means creative death.
How do you avoid that wink?
In my case, I have tried to take Bohemia by storm. I am constantly chasing down the event or the experience that will keep me alert and attentive for another day.
In this column, “The Storming Bohemian Punks the Muse,” I hope each week to share some things I think might punk my muse and keep her on the job so I don’t fall asleep. Perhaps some of my ideas will work for you too. Perhaps you’ll send me some of your own suggestions. I’d like that.
And I promise I’ll never advise you to flush your head down the toilet. That doesn’t work so great.
— Charles Kruger
The Storming Bohemian