Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Finding the Correct Medium

It is amazing just how often this topic comes up in conversation. I used to think that what I am about to describe happens to every creative soul at some stage, but it seems I may be wrong.

My journey in finding the correct creative medium started after high school, when I jumped straight into university. Being socially inept, I mostly drank booze and hung out at the university bar trying to identify with others in some way, even if it was at a more basic level.

I was seriously lacking direction, and so I chose to enrol in a Bachelor of Arts degree. Now, in case you are not aware, generally that is the degree that everyone lacking in direction enrols in. It is like your 'default' course for layabouts. It is the most generic and wide ranging course the university can offer, so naturally anyone lacking a sense of purpose enrols in it.

My primary subjects were English Lit, Drama and Philosophy. In English Lit and Drama I primarily focused my attention towards creative writing. I tried to take it seriously, so I put some effort into my peer assessed stories, prose and scripts.

Back in those days, hardly anyone could afford a mobile phone, let alone a laptop or PC. As a result the university provided student access to computers for the purpose of doing research or completing assignments.  

I spent countless hours on the university computers working on my creative writing. I wrote, re-wrote, edited, re-edited, wrote and re-wrote some more. It got to the point where I lost focus on whatever it was I was trying to say. I was constantly floating in a fetid pit of dissatisfaction. I ended up with a vasty array of floppy discs (yes... I am that old) full of hundreds of edited versions of my ramblings.

After quite some time of chasing my own tail, I eventually had a perfect moment of clarity. Somehow, I knew I had plenty to say - but the realisation hit me that I was expressing it in the wrong medium. I was confident that I was a capable writer, however I was totally incapable of knowing when a piece was finished. Everything I wrote was constantly re-written into oblivion.

Whilst I realised this epiphany was significant, I also knew I was totally lost. I had wasted a lot of time trying to express myself in words.

It ended up with me leaving university. Thankfully however, all was not lost. I knew that all I had to do was find the correct medium for my creative output.

Eventually I dabbled in sound, and totally sucked at it. So I tried visual mediums, and found myself drawn to painting and photography. I soon discovered painting and photography were the ideal mediums for me, because I was easily able to identify when the piece was finished. I simply knew when to stop.

I am sure that this evolution of expression may seem straight forward to some. But it sure took me a while to figure it out.

2 comments:

  1. I agree. It is hard to find a medium. I've struggled with this myself...and strangely, despite where I thought I would be creatively, I've found my medium is ... sewing. Thanks for this post.

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  2. Hi Kathleen! Thanks for your comment. It really is very interesting when you take the time to look back. I should have also mentioned in the post that I tried acting and theatre as another medium also.

    I really think finding the most appropriate medium takes a certain degree of maturity and practice.

    And you are excellent at sewing. I remember you doing it since 1996 - 1997 -ish.

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