Why I am Not (Or am I?) Laurie Anderson

Photo by visuals on Unsplash

Why am I not Laurie Anderson? I asked myself that question after listening to her talk in a video recently and something rose up, stirred up on the inside, like the beginning, sputtering flow of water after priming a pump. This usually happens whenever I listen to any creator talk about their art. Possibilities feel endless and the harsh delineations of this world soften around the edges. I ride along the descriptions of their creative life like a giddy child in an amusement park. Wheeee! Something else can happen, can come through you. You, too, could be on this wildly magical ride. But first you must be willing to walk the tightrope to where your imagination is leading you.

It happens mostly in that little box in our head we call the mind. The thoughts that ramble around in mine are approximately equal parts free-wheeling and analytical. I wonder if that’s why I am not Laurie Anderson or any other wildly creative artist. My wanderings go out a ways but then they need undergirding and the support of a straight, comprehensible line. While this linearity helps me file my taxes, I do prefer the more global, abstract, unattached to any line type of thoughts. On the other hand, not tying things back to “reality” does give me low level anxiety.

Or maybe that’s just an excuse for why I am not intensely creative. Or as creative as I want to be which I admit would be to run wild, run free in my own fashion. Everybody has a right and a left brain unless you came into the world deformed. Or suffered a stroke. So even Laurie Anderson has linear thoughts. I don’t know if it’s drugs or stubborn insistence that allows the free play of her creative thinking but I do know she has way more fun not being linear.

Creativity is play. It’s fun. It makes you breathless and breathes life into you as you pursue it. It provides a more rarefied oxygen, the kind your soul needs to live.

I have to admit, drinking has helped me. It alters the usual way my mind works. It makes me feel looser and freer to roam and cross borders. But in order to be kinder to my liver, I limit myself to a once-a-week bottle of wine. So since there are more days I’m not drinking, I need to be creative without relying on anything but my own mind to get me there.

To where I feel that heightened excitement and anticipation as the magic starts to come through. To forget to eat and go to the bathroom. To slip through time as hours go by in an instant. To do those things that allow me to squeeze myself through the tiny, infinitesimal cracks in the smooth surface at the edge of this reality. And for the smallest of moments have the tiniest, most fleeting glimpse of what’s on the other side.

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Sharon Pillai

Sharon Pillai

Learning how to live. Writing helps.