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Frustration and Creativity

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Do creative people suffer frustration the most? It just really would seem so? Why? Is it because we are a bunch of perfectionists and anything we do has to turn out just so? Anyone involved in creative work gets into it for at least two reasons:

  • they are good at what they do.
  • they have great taste.

What qualifies as creative work?

There are many people that can be described as creative.

  • Singers
  • songwriters
  • artists
  • writers
  • poets
  • dancers
  • choreographers
  • videographers
  • architects
  • designers

These and many more are involved in work that they have to create themselves. A singer may not have written the song they are belting out, but they have to figure out delivery. Most creative people will not release their work or allow it to be seen by anyone until they are satisfied that it is perfect. For it to be perfect, it has to meet their exacting standards. It has to meet their taste.

Many creative people get frustrated because their work and taste sometimes just won’t click. A writer can have a complete draft for years but they will not get it published because something is missing. If you ask they what is missing, they have no idea. They can’t quite place her finger on it, but something is just not right.

A sculptor may spend many frustrating hours working on a bust. They walk around it contemplatively, chip something here and there, then sweep the whole thing off the table with a roar of frustration. While you look on in awe, all they see is errors.

How do you use frustration to your advantage?

Instead of ignoring it or giving in to it and giving up, you can ride on it and become an even better creator. Resisting it only serves to choke the genius in you. You throw up your hands in resignation and hobble off that stage dejected.

What the creative needs to learn is how to harness that feeling of ‘it can’t be done’ and instead use it to ‘refuel’ so to say. Granted; it is not fun to feel the tension, but you can let out a long sigh, take a break and start over another day. If you get your work rejected with reasons why that is a chance to improve on it, isn’t it? It is definitely not fun to have your manuscript rejected after all the slaving. You can sit down with your editor or even alone, go through the reasons and see what you can do to make it better.

Do not give in to frustration. Do not quit.

Now, I’d better follow my own advice and get my own projects finished!

board game business challenge chess
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Maria 3

Maria’s bag buzzed and she nearly jumped out of her skin. She gave the bag a look as if to say,  Bugger all! Not you too! The bag sat there nonchalantly as if had not just cuddled its owner’s blood. It buzzed again, but this time Maria was ready. She reached and fished her phone out. There were three missed calls and five texts from Sarah. She wanted her to go to her office stat! That was the word she used. Stat. Maria rolled her eyes.

Alrighty then, she thought. Here comes the dismissal letter. Fired for filtering company coffers. Su-weet! She clutched her phone and sauntered over to Sarah’s office. She found her pacing in front of her desk. Sarah glared at her junior and motioned her to a chair.

“I’d rather stand, thanks,” Maria said and leaned against the wall. She was feeling strangely calm as she watched her boss pace back and forth and occasionally glare her way.

“Maria, you have some explaining to do,” Sarah said…rather barked at Maria who shifted easily on her wall and smiled.

“I do? In writing or…”

“Cut it out!” Sarah snapped. “Have you any idea how much trouble you are in? You could lose your job!”

Maria smirked. All this drama over the loss of a job? What if she was going to get arrested? That had been her biggest fear, but losing her job was no big deal. She could always run her publishing startup or look for another job.

“That’s okay with me, Sarah. In fact, I should probably resign since this whole hullaballoo is obviously a gimmick to get me fired. Why not save you guys all that trouble and energy?”

She gave a short mirthless laugh and held a hand up to stop Sarah from responding.

“Look, I don’t know who wants me out of here so badly or even why, but I can promise one thing; this does not qualify for a “Well played, matey” remark. Accounts? Me? What on earth would I be doing in accounts? Maybe they should have tried something like a missing laptop or two. Or basic thievery. What do I know about accounts? And what is this large amount of money your boss and you figure I have in my account?”

Sarah looked uncertain for the first time. She walked around her desk and sunk into her chair with a sigh. Nothing was making sense. A copy of Maria’s account details had been sent to Ngorana’s office and it read 3.1m, more money than was possibly sensible for Maria to have unless she had taken a loan. she shook her head and looked over at Maria who was calmly looking back at her leaning back on that wall with one hip jutting out. She looked innocent, incensed and confused all at once.

Sarah suddenly realized that Maria was innocent. Something was going on, but Maria had no clue as to what. She remembered the way she had walked into Ngorana’s office and the consternation on her face at being yelled at. She recalled how Maria recoiled then sprung into action facing Ngorana without fear. She did not hesitate when she was asked about her bank account. Instead, she was indignant. She couldn’t be faking it. Sarah had never known Maria to fake anything. Not even dislike.

“Maria, do you have mobile banking?”

“Yes, I do,” Maria responded brandishing her phone like she was preparing to hurl it at someone. Sarah bit back a grin and asked Maria if she had checked her account balance recently.

“Not today, no,” Maria said. “I checked yesterday and it was Kshs. 130 something thousand. How much am I expected to have in there? A million?”

Sarah ignored the question and asked Maria to check again. With a sigh of resignation, Maria did so and the result came back Kshs. 135,690. She showed it to Sarah who shook her head in confusion.




There’s you and There’s the Rest

From conversations with friends, foes and in-betweens, I have realised that I’m not the only one that has flipped society the bird. Literally. Why you ask? Because you can only take so much horse poop.

Think about it: people will meet wherever and form little groups to discuss you and your life choices. They will elucidate extensively about your life choices and why they are the wrong choices. Never mind the fact that some of them are teetering on the brink of total disaster on account of their life choices. 

So, a winsome dialogue will go something like this:

“Who does Anne think she is? Would you believe she quit her marriage because her husband cheated ONCE? Some of us have been cheated on multiple times and even been admitted to hospital due to fractures we got from beatings but we are holding on.”

“Yeah. She thinks she’s so special. Leaving that huge mansion and that Lexus she was bought recently to live in a one bedroom apartment and use matatus. You go on popping your pills in your air-conditioned comfort. Who is healthier than you?”

It goes on and on and finally, it is agreed that it’s better to be popping antiretrovirals and hop around on clutches than to leave a mansion and a Lexus. I know. I’m shaking my head too.

That’s just an example to show that people will be disparaging about the choices you make even if they are right for you. Theirs are right for them. I once told someone that society has a lot to say about you whether you do or you don’t. Imagine you are employed by someone that treats you like you are a sewer rat. They yell at you, insult you…heck! They even give you an ass whopping! You are judged if you stay and you are judged if you leave. If you stay, you have no self-esteem and you are a weak sob and deserve to have your behind whopped. If you leave, you are an ingrate who does not appreciate the fact that you have a job while so many would kill to have yours. You really cannot win with these folks.

Society does not live my pain or my joys. Society knows not my fears, frustrations, wins or losses. Society knows zilch about me. All it does is stand at a distance, point and laugh and judge and condemn. It praises you when you conform, even if you are dying while at it.

So, yeah. We flipped the bird at society and made a life that suited us. There’s them, and then there’s you.









Why the Extremes?

This is a Facebook memory.

So, this fella gets drunk on God knows what, but, I assume it is one of those illicit un-branded alcoholic ‘drinks’. Prolly the sort that looks like water fetched from a muddy puddle after eight elephants have danced in it. I digress……this dude is singing a lewd version of a popular gospel song, sitting in the road ( dirt road, smack in the middle ) with his pee making this shaky snaky line to the side of the road. And he is crying too. Sobbing to be precise. Sorry sight to behold and I kind of feel sorry for him. Then he decides the crying thing ain’t working. He heaves himself to his feet, only to plonk right back on his back with his legs up in the air and bursts into maniacal laughter! Why do people do this to themselves? Alcoholism or desperation?

The memory ends here.

However, it gets me musing…

Even if we are not and have never had any addictions, we know people, know of people, have read about people that have fought this gigantic monster known as addiction. Now, I’ve never been addicted to anything, so I don’t know squat. However, I make it a point not to judge or dismiss that which I haven’t experienced.

I have heard people say that if a family member is addicted to whatever substance…or act…you simply take them to rehab and that takes care of that. They never seem to factor in that the addicted person must accept that they have a problem and be willing to get well. No. You collect them from wherever, take them to rehab, go back home and await a clean, fresh individual who has sworn off substance abuse for life. Would be awesome if that was the ending that most enjoy, but alas! It’s nothing close! Most will hang around for a couple of days, bored to their teeth since they probably lost their job, thanks to addiction, and go back to hunting their old friends. Before you can say ‘Croatia!’, they’re back to their old ways.

Is there a better way? Christians will yell ‘demon!‘ and assign a tongue-twanging pastor to get rid of the pesky beings. Others will want to send the fella back to rehab. Yet others believe it’s bad manners and you can beat or slap or punch those out. Some will give up and throw the bugger out. A last lot will try to deny the fella the substances they use not knowing they’re probably killing them

It’s terrible. Maybe we should read a little bit more, do some more research and speak to more recovered addicts before we give these people up to their substance of choice?

Why Gals Fight in Bars

Let me see what flows:
So, you decide to go out with some friends and since you do not ingest them fiery things, you get down to your Minute Maid with gusto. Some dolt decides you’re not having fun because, apparently, fun can only be had via fiery thingies and a kaplot is hatched. Your “friend” on the right draws your attention to something and “friend” on the left “improves” your Minute Maid (MM) with some of the fieries. A few minutes later, Left does the same, and Right improves your MM further. You realise your MM is beginning to taste rather off and being the bright soul that you are and seeing that when God is for us, nothing can be against us, you decide to taste the drinkie in the boxie and voilà! Different!

You catch on, but decide you’re gonna say nothing. You push the contents away from you and ask for a fresh glass and your ” friends” realise the gig is up. HowEver, since you ain’t saying nuthin, they ain’t saying nuthin either.

So, God does not eat matumbo in a kibadaski in Korogocho and you have a testimony because, who should walk in at that particular moment, but your crush! That he has someone else’s crush hanging off his neck is neither here nor there. You’re going in. Maybe your “friends” improvements are not such a bad idea after all. You reach for the glass holding the improved contents and you do a head-thrown-back kind of gig and down goes el poisono! Right and Left look at each other, jaws digging the floor, and gasp in confusion! Actually, ever heard harmonized gasps? My fren, you’re an innocent yet!

Where were we? Oh…drinkie down. You hold the empty glass to Left and grin into his exposed tonsils:
“Mind filling me up?”

Left recovers first and grabs the empty glass, pours some more of the spirit thingy and tops up with MM. You gulp some down before Right regains consciousness and grabs your arm.
“Easy, gal! It ain’t running away!”
You giggle and shove him. You’re feeling a little giggly and light headed. You decide to sashay over to Crush and do some Rihanna impersonation. Seems to get them mbois all goofy and google-eyed! You slide off your ‘sina taabu’ and do a 123 step (if you read that as one twenty-three step, it’s on you bud…) and proceed in his general direction.
“Heeeey buddy boy!”… Buddy boy?! You wince and try again.
” Soooooo, what’s everyone having then? Me? I’ll be having you!”
And that, my fren, is how you discover why gals fight in bars. Stick to your old trusty MM!

Rogue Employers

Those of us who dabble in online writing can relate to this:

You join a writers’ forum on social media…say, Facebook. You want tips on how to join the online writing community and earn some cash on the side. Hey! You could even make this your main gig! Folks earn money from it, no? So, you invest in some training, or if you’re like me with an English/ Literature background, you take the dive.

Someone posts an advertisement. They need article writers. They will pay 250 per page or per 275 words or per 500 words or whatever the terms are. The payments are to be doled out weekly. You think great! Opportunity! So, you apply.

They need a few articles to see if you fit the bill and you attach them to your application. They think you can do it and they start sending you work. So, you are in the mullah, aye? Yip! You are excited and committed. So committed that you don’t even mind the late hours. One night, you write right through the night. The employer is happy with your work and keeps sending more, sometimes even begging you to do just one more. Just more…at 2:00 AM…then you can go to bed and start again tomorrow…at 6:00 am. Because apparently you’re an automated machine and you had no idea, but you’re about to freaking find out!

Well, so far so good. You even tell them when you’re not available. After all, it is freelance writing, no? Aaaanywhoooo, you write…the week is up. 17 articles of varying word counts pile up. You ask about the pay and the promises begin.

” I have to activate payment on PayPal, then wait for three days for the cash to load in my bank account, then I’ll mpesa you the cash, ” Mary, the ’employer’ says. Fine. That’s the way it works, right? The agreement was to pay via mpesa, so, I’ll wait.

The three days are up. You ask. No response. You email, text and call. The phone is off. Dead rat. You go back to the writer’s forum where you found the ad in the first place. A well-meaning good friend had tagged you to the ad because you’d told her you were looking. You ask questions. The admin asks you to raise the ad. Boy! You search until your data is out. The ad was taken down! Dead rat starts to smell.

But, she sees your query and texts you the following day.

“So Sorry,” says she. ” I’ll pay you on Monday (1st of January 2018) and explain the delay.”

You remind her that that’s a public holiday. She text-smacks her forehead and claims confusion. So, she’ll pay on Tuesday (2nd). No problem. 2nd comes and goes. Texting and emails again. No response.

Well, Mary N of writerperfect12@gmail.com, I hope this finds you well. I’d like to tell you and others like you that that is not how stuff works. I guess you were looking for some quick cash and you used skilled people like myself to get it for you. Seeing as you can’t write to save your life if your emails and texts and phone conversations are anything to go by, you get your grubby dirty hands on an account, employ some bonafide writers, get your cash and bail.

It’s going to catch up with you and it’s going to give you the butt whopping of two lifetimes. That kind of cash does not get you far.

The end.