Now, I have been a columnist for several publications, and have always thoroughly enjoyed writing the articles, so when Ideas Tap had an application to be ‘The Columnist (as forbidding as it may sound), I was keen to apply. Here is my application:
My favourite exhibition I ever visited was one in Lincoln, where sketchbooks of all types were filed on a bookshelf waiting for guests to rifle through their pages. I stayed all day, and did just that. Whenever I see an artist on the street, casual or amateur, I have to strain my neck to see what delights he might be creating. Even those caricaturists in cities who clearly paid someone else to draw their samples. I have countless books of ‘sketchbooks’, ‘artistic journals’ and ‘the creative process’, because I just love seeing how someone else does it. In fact, my obsession is so bad, that I have decided I have creative voyeurism. I like nothing more than to watch while other people create.
Better than creative exhibitionism one might say, because let’s face it, no one likes a show off, but still rather debilitating. Every time I walk around the kind of cute craft/upcycled vintage/adorable independent store that I so crave, I eat up the lovely ideas with my eyes. I sometimes think how fresh the trinkets are, often marvelling ‘I wish I’d thought of that’, but I didn’t, and there lies the problem. I know when I walk in that I won’t buy anything. But I still venture inside.
Instead of purchasing said brooch or card, I make a mental note, thinking ‘I could do something like that’ for less money. I file it away to a place where I inevitably will never visit, because time restraints, a photographic memory like a drunken selfie, and a British social awkwardness that forbids me from taking photos in an empty shop, will never let me. I egotistically presume that what I make from my ghostly memory will be anything close to the solidified creative juices created by someone else. Should have just paid the £1.99 and been done with it.
I am creative, and I am a writer. I have tried my hand at a million other crafts, free machinery being my current penchant, with lows of my career including a failed tangle of crochet and owning a sewing machine for under five minutes before knotting it up beyond all repair without a lengthy dissembling with a screwdriver. A combination of these things fuels my desire to ‘have a go myself.
But on the flip side, not only do I think ‘I could do that too’ whilst wondering through these gorgeous shops that something quite extraordinary pulls me into, but they are always there in the back of my mind, even when I try to be creative myself. Palimpsests (what a fantastic word) of jewellery, imprints of paintings in shops I once visited, haunt my every creation. I am quite literally addicted to everyone else’s creative ventures except mine. But what can us creative voyeurs do? Well, firstly accept that your own creativity doesn’t exist in a vacuum, and will inevitably be shaped by the world around us. And go into that craft shop, and damn well steal those ideas, and make something much better for half the price. Job done.