Inspiration is everywhere not just in magic.
When I was studying my degree in drama I was given the opportunity to stage manage a venue at the Belfast Festival, this venue was the Elmwood Hall. Primarily a music venue, the acts that generally were staged here in the festival were bands, musicians, speakers and sometimes comedians made an appearance too. I was so lucky as I got to meet and watch some amazingly talented people from Jack Whitehall (whom almost got me fired because he insisted on me taking him for a carryout just before his performance). E.S.T, Ed Byrne, Fascinating Aida, to Michael Palin (whom I had no clue how famous he was at the time and wondered why people were queuing for autographs out the back of the venue).
Across the three years I stage managed this amazing venue I met and worked with a performer whom I’d never come across before. An extremely talented musician and comedian that now we all know and love worldwide. He’s a actor, writer and all round talented, loveable guy. Tim Minchin.
This guy from start to finish ROCKED Elmwood Hall. It was like an awakening for me. Tim was so unbelievably talented and funny. He was able to creatively combine (and was friggin’ good at) all his skills as a songwriter, musician and personality to create an experience that I will, quite frankly never forget. His song’s had lyrics that were laugh out loud hilarity yet had poignant messages for us all to take home and unpack.
The reason I am writing this post is to remind you that when we pursue a career in something, it is good to find inspiration within the field. But when we are open to looking elsewhere the doors to creativity and what you can achieve burst wide open. The moment I witnessed Tim Minchin storm that stage was the moment I realised I need to keep my eyes peeled everywhere I go. You never know when that spark of creativity will smack you in the face. However, this is a smack you will gratefully receive with open arms.
Can we find inspiration during the apocalypse?
One word, Yes! There has been an implosion on the internet of sharing magic which is wonderful. And in the beginning of it all I wanted to watch and be a part of everything. It felt like I was in the best sweet shop in Sweden and was allowed to take everything I wanted.
However, this is just not possible. I’ve seen online so many people saying their exhausted keeping up online. It is exhausting having so much stimulation every day. And yes it is positive but if you exhaust yourself you won’t enjoy it and might retreat.
A solution which I have found – though I’m no expert – that works for me is to pick and choose what you want to be a part of, watch and learn from. And don’t guilt yourself for the coming days because you didn’t log in and say hi, or contribute to something. We can’t do everything. We don’t in normal life. But there seems to be this pressure building online to be a part of things and I don’t think its good. We need to breathe and take each day as it comes. And know that it’s ok to say no.
Rest so that you are ready to play.
On Friday last, I wasn’t feeling great. I had a bit of a sore throat (and I’m sure you all know when we get any symptoms of anything now your brain is automatically set to panic mode). This turned my mood inward and I didn’t feel like doing, watching or being magic that day.
Instead I choose to watch a musical online. https://www.youtube.com/theshowsmustgoon
I wasn’t massively enthused to do so, but it took my mind of everything going on for two full hours. After it I not only was in better form, but I got up out of bed and I began working on magic. I didn’t force myself to it, it just, happened. And I created this original piece of magic.
I had never been more inventive or open to creating as I was in that next hour. And it didn’t take me long to come up with this effect either.
If I had sat and forced myself to work on magic, it wouldn’t have come.
So, advice for creatively surviving this time in Isolation
- Give yourself time. It’s ok to have a day off or two.
- Don’t guilt yourself into doing everything, everyday for everyone.
- Use this time to be a little bit selfish for yourself. Pick and choose what you can be a part off and can’t each day – don’t overdo it.
- Leave stuff around your house, your bedroom that you can stumble upon and spark some creativity.
- Keep looking for inspiration.
- Watch, observe and help others when you are fit to do so.
- Do things, little and often. You’ll feel like you get so much more done by the end of each week.
- Be selfish, just a little for you. It’s ok to do stuff just for you, even for a day.
- Keep laughing and smiling. We will get through this, together and hopefully be ready to take magic to the next level!