The Story of My Creativity (Sort of)

charlie the invisible thingI’ve already spoken about the crazy, creativity-stifling art teacher who bollocked me for drawing “New Life” (her brief) in the shape of a plant metamorphosing into a man, well, she wasn’t the only one as I was growing up.

When I was about 11 we all created “Charlie” stories. We each picked an inanimate object, called it Charlie, and wrote about its adventures. So my classmates invented, Charlie the Spoon, Charlie the Bucket, Charlie the Pair of Curtains etc.

They were boring as shit.

For me, I didn’t want my imagination to be stymied and so I created Charlie the Invisible Thing.

Charlie set out on galaxy-spanning adventures that often begin with aliens (or somesuch) destroying his home as he slept, causing him to rise up and save the day.

Often the stories were liberally peppered with gruesome sound effects (hey, I was 10!) and probably didn’t make much sense to anyone but me and my friends (who found the stories hilarious).

Even at that age I had found, and was writing specifically for, my target audience.

Then one evening, after a parents evening, my dad hauled me over the coals for being utterly stupid.

My dad does this.

Roleplaying games (at the time I was playing a lot of Dungeons and Dragons) were branded ‘babyish’ – an episode that taught me not to comment on things I know nothing about, as RPG’s foster and nurture the imagination in a way books do not, forcing you to narrate your own solutions to fantastical problems and portray a character living through the consequences of his/her actions.

Having tried art and writing, it was only natural that my creative nature would take me towards music, and aged 14 I started to learn to play guitar. Again my dad intervened. I must point out that he is a kind and caring man, in his own way, but he just doesn’t understand concepts conceived after 1950. This time it was “Why are you playing that rubbish? You’ll never get anywhere playing that, play something decent”.

Like I said, he didn’t understand the creative impulse and me playing stuff simply for the joy of playing it.

So when I formed a band, it was 18 months before he heard about us and came along to a gig. Afterwards he said nothing about the music itself but seemed strangely invigorated. I am not going to try and guess his thoughts. I’d probably be way off.

Now I’m too old to be lugging amps to the other side of the country to play to 15 people on a Wednesday night, getting home at 4am to be up again for work at 6.30.

That stuff gets old quicker than you might imagine.

Now I’m back to writing, and I’m blessed with a wonderful wife who encourages me. She buys me notebooks and pens and understands when I need to disappear to write stuff.

It’s remarkable how resilient the creative spirit is; to brush aside the perpetual knocks and soldier on, into the unknown.

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