A driving force

I have a friend in the US. She’s someone I knew umpteen (20) years ago when we worked alongside at a Steak ‘n’ Ale in Virginia. These days she is a creative, life-loving and successful photographer with four kids. She has a great blog, and often posts interviews with other women who are doing the career/life juggle. It’s great reading, and interesting to see how other gals do it.

One of the posts got me thinking. There’s one photographer in particular whom she interviewed, who said, simply, ‘Become angry’. She was a big fan of ‘indignant anger’. This woman channelled it to get things done, to drive changes in her work habits and policies. All power to her, of course, but I wondered about this.

Many teachings, religious or otherwise, say (in various ways) ‘anger only hurts yourself’. (OK, I may have got that version from The Last Samurai. More on that another time. The fabrics! The cherry-blossoms!)

As a story-smith myself, I am fully aware of the need for friction in order to create. Friction leads to change, to chains of events. Indeed there are large debates over whether one needs to have a fraught personal life in order to create great art (I’m thinking of the usual suspects: Van Gogh, Francis Bacon, Sylvia Plath etc.). And there probably is a case for that. Creativity is one mode by which people express themselves. If there’s a lot to expunge and that person has a gift in a particular medium, then something interesting will doubtless materialise because unhappiness or discontent is a powerful driving force.

I guess the question is whether it can be maintained. Of all the arts, writing fiction is one which requires an incredible amount of discipline and craft. Once that idea is on the page, it’s a rare person who could submit it without several re-drafts and edits.

I wonder if anger has enough longevity to drive such an endeavour, or if at some point one has to step back and unleash the Buddhist within.

Incidentally, my Dear Snap-Happy Pal’s tag is, ‘Love. Life.’

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