On Creation

I need to work with focus today on creating all kinds of scary spreadsheets that will help me manage my business better.  I’ll spend all day doing that and then spend the night at the gym, being pounded to the ground by my boot camp sergeant of a personal trainer.  Laying down this expectation, bright and early this morning, should help me get through my day in a fairly thought-less way.  I am tired of thinking circular thoughts and running across circular references that go nowhere.  So work it is, work – the savior.  The urge to create is within me.


And I can’t leave this space without a stray comment on the Alexander Theroux tome I am still reading: Laura Warholic.  As was previously mentioned, Eugene Eyestones, the protagonist is a columnist for a magazine called Quink, in this novel.  In the chapter I am reading, he is in serious trouble with his editor for the bad press received on a controversial column he has written.  His writing was about the controversial subject of women and creation and his theory that the impulse of creation is only secondary in women.  He supported his developing theory by mentioning the fact that there haven’t been any female Shakespeare’s or female Picasso’s, even as he acknowledged all the brilliant female writers and artists who have graced this planet over the years. 


To illustrate his point better I’d have to quote directly from the book and I don’t have it with me at this time.  But, truncating and paraphrasing, the suggestion was that women ‘create’ when they give birth.  Any other drives to ‘create’; in art, in literature, in music are secondary.  They might do it to prove that they can do it well but they lack a real passion for it.  Whereas men create with a passion because they can’t give birth; their creations are substitutes for this natural deficiency, they have ‘babies’ through creating and nurturing their creations in art, literature, science.


No wonder fictional Eugene is in trouble with his editor for having ruffled so many feminist feathers.  But I wonder if there are some stray bits of truth in this analysis.  


Where indeed is a female Shakespeare? Is she yet to come? I wonder if a woman could have written a novel like “The Stranger” or if a writer would even dream up a credible female character similar to Meursault. 


Has a woman ever written a novel like Maugham’s The Moon and Sixpence? Could a female writer create a protagonist such as Strickland (Gauguin)? Could a woman do what Strickland did? Leave his wife, his home and exist just to paint, to create art? On the one hand all concerns pale for Strickland in the face of his urge to create, his passion for creation – poverty, illness, destitution – nothing matters as long as he can paint and yet…he needs women in his life. 


He abandons his wife, steals his friend and benefactor Stroeve’s wife, abandons her, drives her to suicide and moves to Tahiti where once again he takes up with other women.  (If nothing takes precedence in his mind except the pursuit of art and beauty why does he still need women?) From the author’s perspective, do women simply attach themselves to men who care nothing about them or anything except the things that drive them to fulfill their passions? Would women authors portray women in such a light? Could a woman then, create a female character who could be seen as a protagonist and not an antagonist (or as someone who ought to be strait-jacketed); as a woman who doesn’t care about anything except creating something other than human life; a woman who gives up everything to write or to paint?


So after that long morning digression into men and women and the creative impulse, it’s time for me to return to the creation of scary MS Excel spreadsheets that use functions such as CONCATENATE, VLOOKUP, HLOOKUP, ISERROR, MID and what not.  I am not passionate enough to even try to fully understand these elaborate functions.  I could, if I tried but there is such a thing as replicating and I can mimic what I don’t care to spend time understanding-to equally stellar results.  My ‘secondary’ impulse for creation is leading me to plagiarization of an illustrious male colleague’s passionate creation, but he’s ok with it.  The shell will always bear his original stamp.


So off we go to immerse ourselves in something other than solipsistic babble.

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