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THE LIFE AND DEATH OF MY CREATIVITY by D.L.McHale


It is said that one of the prerequisites of creativity is to have had experienced childhood trauma. Read the works of any great Irish writer (Frank McCourt, Oscar Wilde, James Joyce) and you will clearly see that youthful pain and suffering fueled much of their creative genius.   And while I do not claim to be remotely on par with these incredible storytellers, to read any of my writing is to know that  childhood trauma played a significant role in the determination of my creative voice.

To be honest, my youth unfolded like the discarded first  draft of a story that could have been so much better. There simply weren’t enough stretches of peace or joy in it to attend to the edits necessary to have made it bearable.  It isn’t that I am filled with regret for all of the things that might have been.  It’s more that I am blanketed in a sadness for the sheer waste of it all.

Intuitively, I know that my broken juvenile years  can’t be the full measure of why I write the way I write.  Something deeper, more sinister, is afoot. Something bigger and more malevolent presses my pen to the paper.

For me, the value of nothing out of nothing comes something. The nothing started even earlier than the moment when I began to write.  I have no doubt that what little creativity I possess is the function of some neurological quirk; that I have just enough of psychosis or depression to fuel an interesting poem here, an article there. That creativity (if that’s even the word for it)  is not, in any circumstance, the product of “talent” or creative muse, but rather arises more as a testament to a damaged mind that perceives the events of life from a slightly more skewed or twisted perspective.

Perhaps it was the combination of the two: an injured adolescence and a form of brain damage.  When I was four years old, I fell down the stairwell of the two story duplex my family lived in while my father was stationed in the Navy.  I was rushed to the hospital because the fall had resulted in a crushing blow to the frontal temporal region of my skull.  Surely, my brain was impacted, if not forever altered because of this accident.  Combine that blow with the endless physical and sexual trauma that rejoined the family the day my father retired from service, and then, perhaps  I can begin to put my finger upon my “creativity.”

Ask yourself…what can be more creative than scrambling daily throughout your entire childhood to find a place to survive.  Out of necessity, the damaged mind constructs a false reality in which to take shelter. It is this false reality that takes form in the expressive arts.

I may never know what truly fuels my creative process.  The sands of time that fill the hourglass of my life have nearly run out.  While I am by no means an old man, I am, nonetheless, a tired man and my time upon this tortured plane of existence called “life” can now be measured in moments rather than years. I will leave behind me no great works of art, no lasting legacy of poetic genius.  Even the memory of me will fade before the ink is dry on my final written word.

Mine has been a lonely walk: solitude whispers a silent story. And as we all know, life and living require interaction. But I was born alone, have lived alone, and will undoubtedly die…alone.  And that doesn’t require creativity.

Peace Through Art


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(Artwork by Mohammad Bin Lamin)

in quiet meditation,
let our consciousness guide us
upon the transcendental path
toward the glory of peace.

peace lies inside the throbbing heart of the earth,
inside the borders of nations, rich and poor;
inside its people, the living and the dead;

through our songs, our art, our poems,
our photographs, our dance, our creative imaginings
(men die miserably every day for the lack thereof)
our inspiration echoes the soul of heaven.

through art, we stimulate and illuminate our minds;
through our imaginations and our creations
we envision peace and increase
our courage, our hope, our enduring love –
which is the potential of every living soul.

without art, we are forever locked in the dialogue of illness
of suffering, of orphans crying, of death ,and of dying –
whether or not we are talking about it.
we remain caught in an entangled web of pain.

are we not yet tired
of having died in so many times in so many ways?
are we not tired of dying, dying again and again…?

E=MCreativity


Image

Einstein gave us relativity,
but failed to factor creativity!
His theorem’s certain, yet we are not
and mankind, therefore, slips the knot.
While science deigns to draw the curtain,
the power of love is all but certain.
Quantum physics, both here and there?
Mankind cannot be factored square!
String theory speaks to nature’s state,
while poets reveal our human grace.
Unification without the arts
is faulty from the very start!
There still remains the mystery
of how we simply came to be?
Big Bang theory explains the stars
but does not speak to why we are?
The paradigm begins to shift
When we factor in the artist’s gift…
Equations writ in bytes and bits
Cannot explain Beethoven’s fifth.
As so we argue with indignation
We only exist in our imagination!

How I Write a Poem


When I write, it is as though a murmuration of swallows
has taken flight within my mind. I am stupefied and mesmerized
by words flying about in an almost geometric dance,
each word seemingly afraid to be the first to land upon my page.
It’s both a beautiful and frightening process,
but when the first letter of that first word finally alights,
something intense and magical happens:
the sky of my imagination opens up
like a storm cloud on a summer afternoon,
releasing a torrential rain of verse or rhyme.
My job is to run around with bucket in hand and catch what I can.
When the pail is full, I carefully pour it upon a page.
To approach this in any other way would drown me
in my own vain attempts at creativity.
When the pail is dry, I walk away, and the poem is born.

E = MCreativity


Einstein gave us relativity,
but failed to factor creativity;
His theorem’s certain, yet we are not,
and mankind therefore slips the knot.
While science deigns to draw the curtain;
the power of us is all but certain.
Quantum physics, both here and there?
Mankind can not be factored square.
String theory speaks to nature’s state,
while poets reveal our human grace.
Unification without the arts
is faulty from the very start.
There still remains the mystery
of how we simply came to be?
Big Bang theory explains the stars
but does not speak to why we are.
The paradigm begins to shift
When we factor in the artist’s gift.
Equations writ in bytes and bits
Cannot explain Beethoven’s fifth.
As so we argue with endless indignation:
It’s all little more than our imagination.

Process


Words fall like polished stones

tumbling upon the page with a splash

and I take no credit

for how they configure

A wind blows through me

and emotions stir

My only job is to give the wind

a voice and to put a new page

down when the old is full

Writing is less me having something to say

and more something which must be said having me.

Muse


My muse is hooked on dark pastiche
It is a foul and thoughtless creature
Words from another are now unleashed
And my form is devoid of feature
Where once she enticed me with creative flourish
Now my words are cut low: harsh and malnourished
I’ve nothing to say, to inspire or sway
And the pages are blistered with pain
There comes only fear, rot and decay
And the occasional deluge of rain.