Art by Megan Jefferson
art by Blake Johnson
Cover Art by Jack Baumgartner
When we met for the first time we talked about creativity as it’s popularly celebrated: Freeing yourself from distractions, surrounding yourself with beautiful things, being lost inside the space created for yourself whether in nature or a coffee shop. Who doesn’t want all of that from time to time?
But what if creativity does not flow best into the limitless space we strive to create around ourselves? What if, instead, it is pressed out of us by the constant, repetitive, unending cycle of daily life? What if creativity is not the result of acting on our every desire, but rather what’s found after everything else has been drained from us?
Maybe there, in the uncomfortable realities of our lives is where creativity is expressed, because it must be in order to survive the exhausting and the mundane. Maybe creativity is more incarnation than transcendence.
Creativity of obligation requires us to show up with all our baggage and create something anyway.
Two weeks after we first met we began recording an album. We have carved out space though it has been brief and hard won. We’re graduate students in theology and psychoanalysis. We have had a lot of children; been married to our husbands for a long time. Most of our creative process has happened with children surrounding us, in dirty kitchens and cluttered cars.
If we had all the time and resources in the world we could create something more grand, more elaborate, but not more beautiful. Our music is all we’ve had to give in a brief period of time with pinched pennies and crying babies at our side.
Our obligations do not stop us from creating, they compel us.