I’ve been reading Tim Winton’s latest collection of short stories, ‘The Boy Behind the Curtain’, and apart from the odd paper cut, the life of a novelist appears to be a relatively safe one. However, for Winton, growing up the son of a cop, life has been shaped by havoc and uncertainty. Safety, he says, is a great gift ‘but to be afraid is to be awake’. And while these days he doesn’t go looking for trouble, he feels that he and his father’s careers have depended on accidents and risk, ‘…without strife the cop and the novelist have nothing to work with.’
We can play it safe and write stories or make pots each year by pulling out the same old tricks, but if we want to grow as artists, confronting a certain amount of ‘strife’ and uncertainty in the studio is required.
Last week on the blog I was sharing Dr. Brene Brown’s thoughts on the subject. Brene Brown has spent a large part of her career studying courage, and for her, an artist’s failure to embrace uncertainty and vulnerability is death for creativity.
In other words, artists need to get a little shit scared!