As the summer progresses each day merges into the next. The increase in the number of coronavirus cases in Japan is making it unlikely that I will be back in the rehearsal room again this year. Productions need to be planned months in advance and at the minute the risks seem too great. Like many people I am struggling to get motivated. And the concept that Shakespeare may have written one of his greatest plays during a pandemic does not help when even the thought of making a sandwich seems tiring to me.
I do not feel creative, even though I wish that I did. I have been speaking with other friends who are writers, directors, and composers, and they too are struggling to create. The concern over lack of work and the future of the industry causes anxiety, which does seem to kill my creativity.
Of course part of my problem is wanting to feel creative. Does it have to be a feeling or can it be a skill and something that I get into a routine to work on?
Great things are not done by impulse, but by a series of small things brought together. -- Vincent Van Gogh
I have been giving myself achievable small steps to help, since undertaking anything big is too difficult. I have set aside one hour a day to try to find creative stimulus. This could be listening to a talk or a seminar, listening to music or looking at art, reading poetry or a play. I make myself go into my study during this time where I have a much better set-up than in my living room. I have a view of the tiniest garden and sometimes I end up just gazing at the plants, and that's OK. I want to help myself, not make myself feel bad.
The other day I started to write about a frog. I have a frog shaped güiro on my windowsill and I was looking at it and started to wonder what it saw. I had to let go of the part of me that thinks a song about a "frog in the window" is a silly idea and just go with the fact I was actually writing something.
Today I practiced playing Bach and started to write a tune based around my favourite prelude. Yesterday I listened to Sarah Esdaile talk on Approaching A Speech In Shakespeare. Over the past few days I have written a few lines of a song, one not about a wooden frog, and have started making notes about an idea for a new musical or maybe a play with songs. There are all small things, just the seeds of an idea, but they are helping me feel more alive.