I recently listened to ‘The Creative Fire’, a fantastic audiobook by Clarissa Pinkola Estes that I recommend for anyone involved in creative pursuits. I was particularly struck by her comparison between creativity and sex:

“you can have sex in order to make a child but you can also have sex in order to show an expression of yourself or to show your creative self, or to share yourself, or to give pleasure to another person, and that’s true of creativity… sometimes it’s a giving of pleasure to yourself or others…” (CD3, track 6)

It’s been rattling around my head ever since I listened to it, thinking about it with reference to the various creative activities I am and have been involved in – writing, painting, ‘crafting’, cooking, and, of course, dancing.

With particular reference to dancing, it made me more aware that the downside of performing, and particularly performing for money, for me is that I ended up dancing far less for my own pleasure, and far more to create a ‘product’ or to give pleasure to others. It has reminded me that there was a time when my home ‘practice’ was not about preparing for the next performance, making sure that I was in peak condition for that performance, and so on. It has reminded me that I used to dance – almost exclusively – for my own pleasure and amusement, often alone in my house. I miss that fun and self-pleasing part of dancing.

(Interestingly, earlier in the same CD she also compares creativity to excrement, in that if you do not release it, it will poison you. That makes me think back to my post ‘I dance because I can’t not dance’)