The Bryophyte and The Muse

close up of a bryophyte a green moss type plant

Unfreezing The Creative Self

I heard an article on BBC Radio 4 about how scientists have identified plants regenerating themselves at the edge of a receding Glacier.

The Bryophytes have been frozen for thousands of years, astounding even experienced botanists [Radio 4, 6.30 news, 28th May 2013].

It led me to thinking about how we too have the ability to come back from the dead, creatively speaking…

After experiencing an ice-age in our emotional or creative lives (usually juxtaposed) the fact that a small part of us can resist the freezing process is wonderful news (think Han Solo in Return of the Jedi frozen in Carbonite).

The creative self is so resilient, but we are not necessarily aware of this in our early days as budding artists…

We struggle over the fact that we’re not churning out a consistent output like we did last month and that suddenly things seem to freeze up or dry out for no particular reason.

Oh! the agony as we bemoan our fate that nothing is happening, and we used to be ‘creative’ but can’t justify the label any longer.

Then one day whilst we are sitting happily minding our own business in a low-level depression, the muse breathes in our ear and we jump out of our skin and rack our necks as we turn so quickly to see her smiling coyly…

‘Well, you know, I was only taking a break; you were exhausting me! I mean there was a lot of mileage in that stuff and what did you actually do with it?

Smoke like you had to wipe out the entire marijuana crop in the world and drink like your liver didn’t even have a name?

I’m sorry but even angels don’t put up with that crap for long’ she muses, happy to be back in your head.

I gulp, realizing she’s right.

We squander the light of our muse like the electricity at our fingertips, day and night using more than we need, thoughtlessly switching on every light in the house to feel illuminated.

acrylic painting of blue swirls of energy or frozen life forms by uk artist phoebe thomasson
Frozen Lifeforms acrylic on canvas by Phoebe Thomasson

Why can’t we be content with less?

Perhaps when we find the answer to that one we will never run dry.

Why? Because we will give our muses a holiday, frequently appreciate them and treasure their input, using it wisely instead of abusing their light and squeezing out every ounce of their worth, just to say…’oh well I’m not much of a [fill in the blank] anyway?’

Our job then, is to remember the seasons, and that they vary, and that ice-caps melt and are reborn every winter, that brooks turn into rivers and change the landscape around them.

Even deserts form and move and grow where once there was ocean.

In every landscape there is life, of one sort or another, be it urbane creature scavenging for food, woodland burrower hiding from the two-legged’s, or tiny bryophyte thawing on the edge of a glacier…it’s all worthy of our attention.

Your creative life is just as nature.

It’s your nature.

Value it.

link to the art shop and gallery of phoebe thomasson artist

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