Friday, June 21, 2013

6/21/13—Breathing In The Creative Spirit

Today's Today's Draw is special, because it's part of a Tarot Blog Hop. What that means is that, from this post, you can link to the blog before me or to the blog after me. And if you keep linking in that manner from blog to blog, you can read 24 tarot blogs, all focused around a single theme. This particular blog hop is to celebrate the summer solstice and we're supposed to share one of our gifts with write about something we're good at or do something creative.

In other words, I get to go hog wild. Mix things up. Get my goof on.

You'd think I'd savor that opportunity. But you know what? I'd really rather just share some thoughts about my personal relationship with creativity in the manner to which my regular readers have become accustomed. So with that...

Today's Draw: The Lovers in the Spirit position from The Wild Unknown and the Deck of 1000 Spreads. How dependent are you on your creative spirit? If you spent your days pushing paper and had no hobbies, could you be happy? What stands between you and your creative spirit?

I nearly cried when I drew this combo. The Lovers means different things to different readers. Sometimes it speaks of soul mates. Sometimes it speaks of a choice. In the Spirit position, however, I can definitely say that the creative life is both my soul mate and my choice.

When I was young, I wanted to be a veterinarian. Then when I got a little older, I wanted to by a cytologist...a cell biologist. I wanted to clone things. Those probably sound like weird things for someone like me to want to do. They're "desk jobs"...regular jobs. Certainly there's creativity in both things. But they're weighted to left brained thinking. They were practical I would have enjoyed and done well at. Careers my parents would have been proud for me to have. 

But then I would have forever been fated to becoming one of those people who say "oh, I could have been a writer" when they meet people who earn their living that way. Those people make my eyes roll because they make me think, "well what's stopping you?" It's not like you need special permission to start a blog or submit a manuscript. It's so easy to say "oh, I could have been a writer" when you don't know what it actually takes to sit in front of a blank page every day and fill it with words some idiot will feel a need to edit. 

So instead of choosing to sit behind a microscope, I chose to spend my life in a career where my words would be put under a microscope. On the plus side, I'm the kind of writer who gets to think up wacky ideas and have fun with my advertising copywriter. 

There was a time at the beginning of my career in advertising that I wasn't a writer. I worked in the traffic department, which is the part of an advertising agency that moves work from one department to another. So an account executive will put in an order for work and the traffic manager will distribute that work to the relevant parties. Then when the work is complete, the traffic person will move it to the next step and next, all the way to the point that it's printed or goes live. The traffic department manages the workflow of the creative and production departments.

Anyway, I liked the job and did well at it. But I was miserable inside because the writer within me was crying out for attention. I felt incomplete, like part of me was missing. As time went by, the writer was fighting to crawl out of my skin. So I found a mentor among the agency's copywriters and she would give me fake assignments to do. I then convinced the creative director to let me handle a few overflow jobs...nothing glamorous. Just stuff the writers were too busy to do. It was, in retrospect, the only time of my life that I didn't have a reliable creative outlet. And it was its own special misery in my young life. I could have started a hobby or something, I suppose. But ultimately, having that unfed hunger was good for me. It's what gave me the wherewithal to keep pushing until I got what I wanted. 

Those of us who write, generally do it because something within us has to find its way out. And we're wired to do it through words. Someone with that inside them can't do life as "oh, I could have been a writer". There's either writing or a long, slow, miserable death. 

Beyond writing, though, is the creative spirit in general. Writing alone can't satisfy it for me. So I craft. I cook. I sew. I create. That green card up in the picture is one of my creations. I invented a whole new way of creating spreads in the tarot world, the Deck of 1000 Spreads. Tarot is something I've been doing nearly as long as I've been writing. So it's one of my talents, too. And that green card is just one of four decks I created in the past year or two. Not because it brings me money. It doesn't. It gives me something of greater value. It keeps me happy to be alive. 

So this Lovers card in the Spirit position, for me, is like the dance between creativity and my own spirit. Like the geese in the picture, creativity and I are flying in unison. I love being an advertising copywriter. But it's not as glamorous as you see on TV. We're not as "in charge" as Peggy Olson or "everybody loves my ideas" as Don Draper. Being an advertising copywriter is like popping out baby after baby, only to have the majority of them rejected or deemed ugly. Only now and again does someone say, "hey that baby has potential". And that's a moment of victory—the moment when someone gets it...when someone gets YOU. 

But not even that is why I choose this path. Creativity is my oxygen. And whether or not others think I'm good at it is a minor consideration. It's in the process of creation—the process of breathing that oxygen in—that I get my reward. At a time when others my age might start counting down the years to retirement, I look forward to writing until my final breath. If nearly 1000 blog posts haven't worn me out of things to say, I'm pretty sure nothing as random as a retirement age will. :)

Want to soak up more of the creative spirit? Continue on to the next blog in the hop, written by the FABULOUS Chloe McCracken, a Daily Draw regular. Or be wacky and work your way backwards to the post before minecreated by the insightful Jordan Hoggard. Or if you're really in a hoppy mood, consult this list of all the bloggers in the circle and hop around!


  1. What a great insight into your own personal journey - thank you :)

  2. I've got your cards, Tierney and they are GREAT! I take them to my monthly Tarot group and they can help construct their own spreads when they are feeling a bit stuck - so thank you for that!

    The Wild Unknown Tarot is one that I have got to get my paws on as I have totally fallen in love with the image on the card you drew.

    How wonderful to be a writer! Keep going!!

    Ali x

  3. Thanks for sharing with such and opened and generous spirit.

  4. Thank you everyone! Alison, you will NOT regret getting the Wild Unknown. The cards are great and it's the best card stock ever! :)

  5. "Creativity is my oxygen" may very well be my next tangled quote, Tierney. Brilliant! thank you. I got chills when I saw the WU's lovers flying across your Spirit card.

  6. Thank you for sharing this! I enjoyed it a lot! :)

  7. Thank you so much for sharing your story. 'Oxygen', yeah that's it. Nicely put.

  8. The creative dance of your goof and your hunger make sacred and living expressions in story! And, I like it, anyway. :-) Thanks for your story. Cytologist? I escaped the architecture building to sit in the Microbiology stacks in the library and I-ching books off the shelf to sit down and read them. You have a great mitochondraical fabric. ;-)

  9. And, great to see you in action with your "Don Draper" baby of your "Deck of a 1000 Spreads."

  10. And I'm one of those "idiots" who edit. ;) I understand. That's why I pride myself on respecting the writer's voice and not getting all anal about rules and such. I just want a smooth read. Which you have very ably given me here. I see your oxygen and am working to bring more of that into my life as well. Your Deck of 1000 Spreads is on my wish list (near the top!). And here's to "what the hell's retirement?" I just want to move closer to doing 100% Tarot and writing. Let's go!

  11. Just for posterity's sake, I wasn't calling actual editors idiots...haha. I am only occasionally edited by actual editors. I'm talking about everyday business people who may or may not know anything about marketing or advertising writing and are given a document to read through and feel a need to edit whether the document needs editing or not. Otherwise it would look like they didn't do anything. That's what I'm talking about. People who just need to put their mark on something whether it needs it or not.

  12. Thank you for reminding me of a few other talents beyond parenting, blogging and socialising being two. I didn't know you were a copy writer, so thank you for that insight into your journey :)

  13. "Creativity is my oxygen." I love this! Whether we realise it or not it's part of everything we do and I completely agree that it doesn't really matter what anyone else thinks about your creativity... it's how you feel about it that counts. I think of children when they play. They're not worrying about who's watching or whether or not the house they've drawn is good enough, they just do it. The joy they experience comes from the process of being creative and not the end result. Fab post... thank you! :)