Just looking at Tania McCartney’s webpage refreshes my wells. There’s a glorious exuberance about her illustrations, her writing, and herself that reminds me why I write; to explore who people are, and why they do what they do.
Here, she talks about how lying in bed is a good thing!
“I so love the concept of a refreshment well, and it really got me thinking. I guess my creative replenishment sits firmly outside my ‘work’ yet involves the very stuff my work is made of. Reading. Writing. Drawing. Painting. Pondering. Tossing words into a mental soup. Writing lyrics in my head to goodness knows what artboard and swiping colour swatches across a batch of imaginary text (can you tell I’m an iPad user?).
Overall, I reckon I replenish in two ways. The first, above, seems like work but it’s really not because anything I read or write or draw or muse in Replenishment Mode has no deadline. No place to be. No tentacles leading anywhere other than ‘maybe I shall revisit this lightbulb moment in work mode next week’. And that’s oh-so-freeing.
The other way is a purely physical one. It’s really quite independent of the heart and mind, though it deeply affects both. It’s moving muscles—yoga, walking, travel. Nutrition—plant foods, super foods, pure water. And taking care of my physical brain—meditation, mindfulness, learning. Creative brains are so chronically overloaded—there’s so many clamouring ideas and so much mind chatter (sometimes good sometimes not so good). Some of my greatest peace and creative rejuvenation comes from a silent mind. Or a mind that’s just open to whatever appears at the time. I guess this is a sort of ‘channelling’ and, ironically, this is how I both write and draw—channelling the content from another place.
One of my daily replenishment joys is lying in bed before sleep and watching the day’s ‘theme’ unfold behind darkened eyes—colours, patterns, sounds, perspectives. It’s really hard to explain. All the senses merge into one. It could be hobby horses with green striped wallpaper and the smell of apples. Or it could be skies made of white papercuts, a pond made of music and glass grass. There’s only ever one daily theme and it never relates to my day—it just appears, and it’s like Christmas each and every time.
So it appears to be the small moments that fill my creative well. Those non-thinking times that focus on either pure pleasure (reading, drawing, writing) or physical connection (walking, meditation, travel). Or just staring into space (how I love just staring into space!). I find time for these moments every day, but occasionally need a week or three more deeply immersed in the replenishment well (in fact, I’m just drying myself off from a three-week drenching as I type!). These longer periods always start with a head full of this: ‘Why am I doing this? Am I crazy? My work is shite. I’m getting nowhere. My career and its direction is in the hands of everyone but me. I don’t know if I want to do this anymore. Can I even DO this anymore?’ And half way through my well-submersion, the mind begins to clear and a little light appears, and it becomes brighter and brighter and the focus is brought back to pure creative passion. That’s when nothing else matters, and you’re reborn, renewed, full of jellybeans and ready to forge ahead fearlessly. Until the next bout of staring into space (how I love just staring into space!).”