CORONAVIRUS AND CREATIVITY
I know the gravity of the pandemic we are facing. I think all of us do. And I know how tempting it would be to yield to anxiety and spend most of the day watching a 24-hour news channel or obsessively Googling “Coronavirus” or “Covid19.” And, yet, it has occurred to me that the social distancing and stay-at-home edicts issued by government also provide the context for many people to begin or extend a creative project. It might even be one on the back burner for years. I’ve been working with www.Pain-2-Power.com and Keith Ablow Creative clients to do just that.
Among attorneys, accountants, stay-at-home parents, teachers, students and a host of other folks who would normally be far busier than they might be for the next month, are would-be painters and poets and novelists and entrepreneurs. And if you know or suspect you may be one of them, and if you are lucky enough not to be fighting the illness yourself or helping a loved one to do so or grieving (and my heart goes out to you, if you are) the loss of a friend or family member, why not take this time to begin a creative project that lives long after Covid-19 is history?
Some of us are going to look back at the pandemic and see only time that was lost to fear. And while the fear is understandable, one way to manage it is to resolve to look at this coming month as a “workshop” of sorts, during which you will put a foundation in place to launch a project you might never have given yourself the opportunity to.
I’ve seen people take creative turns during remarkable and sometimes very dark times in their lives. I coached one man through www.pain-2-power.com who found himself living alone, without a job, recently divorced and seemingly unable to maintain the social connections he and his wife had forged during his marriage. All the stresses in his life needed to be addressed, but we also resolved that he would use half his available time to work on a screenplay he had always wanted to write. He ended up finding his writing to be an island of calm and inspiration amidst the storm of his altered existence. And he completed it.
I don’t think it’s insensitive to these trying times to go a bit further and suggest that Coronavirus might not only create the hours and days to devote to creative work, but could also provide inspiration for that creative work. Someone might decide to write a novel about a romance that begins during the pandemic. Maybe that love eventually blossoms between two people who turn up in the ER together. Maybe someone will write a screenplay about a marriage dissolving as the pandemic rages. Maybe the marriage is saved as Coronavirus is vanquished, or maybe it isn’t. Maybe the recent stay-at-home and social distancing orders set the stage (literally) for a stage play about someone having to give up using illicit drugs and come face-to-face not only with underlying psychological issues, but also with the family members involved in those issues (who are suddenly at home 24/7). Maybe the image of Coronavirus being punctured, tied up with rope or attacked by an angry throng of doctors and nurses becomes a painting or illustration. Maybe someone will decide to write a children’s book about how fear can never destroy love.
I know it’s a tall order to turn Coronavirus into a creative crucible. But we human beings have that capacity. And, now, more of us than ever have the time.
Dr. Keith Ablow