When Creativity Knocks

TAKEAWAY: Remain open to your creativity, so it remains open to you.

“Your creativity is very temperamental. If you let too many ideas come knock on the back of your mind and you don’t take advantage of them, it will quit knocking.”

So says Steve Cox, musician and web developer, named “Voice of Golden Eagle” in a Cherokee naming ceremony. You can see a video interview I did with him at the bottom of this post.

I met Steve in Memphis, Tennessee, on my 35-state road trip this summer. I was tired. I had awakened in Birmingham, Alabama, driven to Oxford, Mississippi, to interview a painter/photographer, then pushed on to Memphis. Yet five minutes with the Voice of Golden Eagle and I was wide awake.

What to say of Steve? He’s lived a compelling life, is full of wisdom for creatives, and is happy to share that wisdom. Some of the insights just in the five-minute video alone:

  • Knowing when to dedicate time to create.
  • Being true to your art rather than copying the latest fashion.
  • Recognizing the opportunities and challenges for creatives in the Internet age.

But it was Steve’s discussion of one’s own creativity that truly stayed with me. The advice burrowed into my very soul. Had I been opening the door? Was I opening myself to my own creativity? Or would I let it pass on?

When I left the interview I intended to head to my motel to pass out. But I was too high on creative energy. I stopped by a blues bar, listened to a virtuoso keyboardist, and had a conversation with my muse.

“I’m sorry,” I said as I nursed a beer and picked at a pulled-pork sandwich. “I’m sorry I’ve kept you out there so long in the cold, knocking away until your knuckles were blue. Thank you for not giving up on me. Thank you for continuing to knock.”

I won’t be ignoring that knock any more.

About Patrick Ross

I'm the author of Committed: A Memoir of the Artist's Road.

6 Responses to “When Creativity Knocks”

  1. This is so accurate for pretty much all creatives. I was one who, after many knocks, doors being closed and lack of support for a long stretch of time stopped listening to the knock. The knock got quieter, fewer and further between until it was almost non-existent.

    Thank goodness I decided that I was worth it, that no matter what got in my way my art was worth it, and I had something to say. Until that time, the creativity was barely above the occasional soft “peep”. Once I took a stand, it came on louder and stronger.

    Finding a solid support system has made it all the more insistent. Without support, it is easy to fumble, stumble and fall. The encouragement of others is the key to sustainability in the long run.

  2. Hi Amy,

    Thank you for sharing. As you know, I really admire how you turned your life to art after being told repeatedly that it was no life to choose.

    FYI, I mention you in a blog post I just put up this morning titled “Maximizing Your Creativity.”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Maximizing Your Creativity | The Artist's Road - November 29, 2010

    […] was the advice flutist/songwriter Steve “Voice of Golden Eagle” Cox shared with me when I met him in Memphis on my cross-country trip interviewing creatives. He was referring to […]

  2. 3 Steps to Creative-Business Balance | The Artist's Road - January 17, 2011

    […] the Voice of Golden Eagle told me, we need to create when the tide is in, and attend to administrative tasks when the tide is out. […]

  3. Ignoring the Knock of My Muse « The Artist's Road - March 9, 2012

    […] “Voice of Golden Eagle” Cox, the flutist/songwriter I interviewed in Memphis, Tennessee, said our muse is persistent, but if she keeps knocking and we don’t answer, […]

  4. Three Blogs to Muse by :: PJ Reece - March 30, 2012

    […] over on The Artist’s Road, you’ll find a short interview with an American songwriter who speaks graphically about the […]

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