Which of your needs are being met by the creative projects you take on?

I’m starting to think about this question a lot. Like, losing sleep a lot.

Over the last few months, I’ve embarked on a creative journey involving publishing my first anthology of poems, entering my first short story competition, writing more regular pieces for the website, starting a podcast and generally focusing on my creative expression. But why? Not why as in “what do you want to get out of it”, but rather why do you do it, or “what needs of yours are being met by the creative projects you take on”?

Many people find reassurance for or stimulation from personal projects through the very notion that they are creating something, they are learning something (about themselves and others), they are embarking on a process of introspection, or even just that it is helping them to develop their craft (“cultivate your competencies”, as I’ve said before). This seems rational and a logical explanation, that seems to have slipped my mind over the last few weeks.

Lately, I’ve felt a little lost with the intention behind my creativity, and feel like it is a good time to take stock of the needs being met by these projects, rather than continuing to do them for something as meager as validation, or attention, which are easy to be consumed by. It’s very easy to create something with the intention for it to be consumed, with the idea that it will bring you some kind of personal validation, but quite frankly, this can be rather hollow and meaningless, if you’re not sure about why you’re creating something to begin with. I don’t want my creativity to feel like “high churn”, I don’t want it to feel like something I have to do on a specific timeline. I’d like to create and express myself with fluidity and as we go.

I wish I had a more concrete answer to the question I am posing for you today, but I will be taking some time to reflect and write, intending to draw some new conclusions about this. All I know, is that there was very little celebration around me completing a short story for an international competition, something which, in anyone’s books, would be an achievement itself. I’m very proud of the story and proud of myself for doing so, but I didn’t stop for one second to acknowledge this and I’m not happy about that. I’ll be thinking about this, and will circle back to this topic on the blog or podcast in the coming weeks.

– Conrad was here.

“A Fever Poetry” may well be the most introspective piece in the ‘Autumn Haze’ anthology. Read it now.

“A Fever Poetry”
by Conrad Schwellnus

How are you seen, does it even really matter?
The ingredients gently mixed, into a tumbling sourdough batter.
To be successful you need to be loved, to make it out you should be liked,
A world alone that lingers, where your emotions have been spiked.

Shelf life aside, you’d do well to disregard your feelings,
Love was always what you craved, even in your primary dealings.
A time to make amends, a time to forgive and forget,
You are whole and loved, even without a sliver of regret.

How are you seen, why do you gaze into the mirror?
Never have you seen your flaws, evermore yet clearer.
Dare to coast in subtle mania, but you manage to channel it kindly,
Better to be free of it, than to shelter it benignly.

Carry all your confidence, at times false it may still be,
It’s time to give over, in vulnerability you may see —
The truth behind the glass, a fever poetry,
Did you disregard the power, in the shallow waters of the sea?

This poem poured out of me and at the time it felt like it struck quite a few chords. Initially written from the personal perspective, it was later changed to encompass a more general view of a struggle that so many people go through. I myself can take a lot from these lines, even though I will admit to not being in the most positive of headspaces when I wrote it. And yes, I considered calling it “Shallow Waters, but I didn’t want to pay Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper any subtle dust.

Next week, the third last poem from Autumn Haze will be shared, and I will be publishing it from the town of Alfenas in Brazil. If this is the first time you’re reading something from the anthology, feel free to read all of the poems in one place right over here. Looking forward to having you back next week as we bring autumn to a close and get ready for winter.

– Conrad was here.

Inspired by a chance encounter, “Pink Scarf” is the next poem to be published as part of the ‘Autumn Haze’ anthology.

“Pink Scarf”
by Conrad Schwellnus

Pink scarf, you smile at me,
A drawing of my soul, this is somewhat sure to be.
The reason that we’re here, in this moment we connect,
Hook, line and sinker, are we in the ship to wreck?

A shadow lurks in peace, alive beyond your years,
Your rings are barely fraught, but bring forth all your fears.
You wear them cleverly, yes, but wear them better in mind,
A lessening of the swelling, behind the mask you live behind.

Pink scarf, it seems the week has slowly strangled you,
Loosen the noose, lift your hand, it’s the only thing to do.
Spark the tip, forgive the sadness, you are gentle and you are kind,
Care for yourself, even if your chambers rule your mind.

“Pink Scarf” had two other names before publication. Firstly, it was called “Temporal Demise” (a little sombre, if you ask me), and then, I considered calling it “Chambers” (a little too obvious). Somehow, the others didn’t stick and I’m happy they didn’t, because the title represents the strongest part of my memory from the inspiration for this poem.

I wrote “Pink Scarf” after a chance encounter with a woman who was sitting at the other end of a coffee shop I was writing from, and yes, she was wearing a beautiful pink scarf. I recall she was also writing, and all we shared was a short moment including a smile, and in that moment she seemed like someone important to my journey. I immediately started writing this poem, which is now the only recollection of the event, and perhaps, the only time in history that our paths will ever cross.

Next week Friday, the eighth poem from Autumn Haze will be shared right here on the site. If you’d like to catch up to the other poems in the series, feel free to start from the bottom and to read them over here.

– Conrad was here.