The creative force is as inspiring as it is maddening. It is a driving passion, a single-minded focus. All other thoughts become dampened or drowned out. An inexplicable force exerts itself like some unwieldy caged beast, gnawing relentlessly to be released.

I have been MIA for some time now because it was theater season at my son’s school. As this was his last performance on his high school stage, it has been a bittersweet couple of months. As always, the show was fantastic. The kids are a pleasure to work with, and the creativity found on our little stage is amazing.

I have been blessed to work alongside so many talented people these last six years. The vision and hard work that goes into a high school musical production is tremendous. During the months of set work and rehearsals, I do not engage in any other creative pursuit. This demands my full attention, yet it is thoroughly meditative.

Set work is one of many outlets for my need to create. This need is the burden of the creative soul.

The creative process can be as frustrating as it is joyful. Like writer’s block, I get artistic block, usually from trying to force the process. Creativity is a flow. We have to allow ourselves to relax and find (mental) space to bring forth new constructs or allow new insights into problems that arise. This is true with any creative pursuit. It is that moment when we let go of the outcome that our creative nature can truly shine. When we create for the joy of the process, we touch the infinite; we exist in the moment.

This isn’t to say there is no planning involved. Regardless of the form of creative expression, certain steps are necessary to foster a state of flow. For example, with set design, the script is read before any plans are made. From the individual scenes within the acts, subtle nuances are noticed and provide insight into how the characters interact with the stage, props, and audience. The show, in its entirety, must have a proper sense of flow in order to engage the audience.

I am grateful to be one small piece of this amazing process. The joy is not only in the culmination of the hard work and long hours experienced by everyone involved but also within the work itself. As the Cowardly Lion said, “There is joy in honest labor.” As always, these shows are a labor of LOVE.

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