Words from the otherworld: Nick Cave and the creative well.
I first fell in love with Nick Cave when I snuck into the Big Day Out as a teenager. I had never seen or heard of him before. I just happened to be in the front row when he stalked on the stage and blew me away with Red Right Hand. It was love as first sight. I have been obsessed with Nick Cave ever since. Not only his songs but also his films and writing. I loved his recent film 20,000 Days on Earth for so many reasons some of which include how personal it was, the bling, the shoes, the suits, how much Warren Ellis made me giggle, the bling, and how beautiful the cinematography was. (I do love Bath.) However, for me, there is a deeper connection. I would go so far as to consider Nick Cave one of my primary Muses. For me, this is a sacred title and not one I banter around lightly. I had a rough up bringing – I was definitely the troublemaker from the wrong side of the tracks. I went off the rails in wicked style. But when I saw Nick for the first time two things clicked for me. First, there was hope I could not only survive but live a full life (Nick had some pretty wild days in his time – that is probably the understatement of the century, and he had thrived). Second, when I saw Nick, the way he was and they way he still is, there was some kind of permission given to me via the universe in that it was okay to be me. I could survive, thrive even, and not lose myself or the things I loved – the darkness, the love, the horror, the passion, the romance, the style, the wildness, the seeking, the blood, the otherworldliness, the rage, the art, the spirituality etc., regardless of all the negativity around me and the crazy high odds stacked against me. Even though my life is a lot more stable now, Nick still has the power to remind me and I suspect many others of of their birthright to be wildly and creatively themselves. However, over time I did ‘grow up’ and I did lose myself along the way. I found myself toiling away in the system trying to be ‘the good girl’. But recently, I found my way back… correction I was forced to find my way back to myself and to the things I love – the things that make me want to live rather than just survive. In short, I found my way back to my art. Admittedly, finding my way back to art was partly out of a need to survive (being stuck at home for six months plus, staring at four walls can test anyone’s sanity). Over the last six months my life has been stripped right back. All the things that I identified with, that made me ‘me’ have been torn down. My ideas of who I was and where I was going were smashed to smithereens. My ego has been stripped bare and tossed into the street. But you know what? This is possibly the best thing that has ever happened because it forced me to really stop and look at myself, look at how and who I am now as opposed to running from it. Now I have a chance to figure out how to make a meaningful life alongside the pain and disabilities I live with rather than trying to pretend they aren’t happening. It has been a significant death and rebirth. (Okay – the rebirth bit is still in progress.) That is not to say I have given up hope of maybe getting better someday but I am trying to live a bit more in the here and now. Over the last few weeks I have had a few visits to hospital, which has made my pain close to unbearable. As a result I have been feeling pretty emotionally flat and uninspired in my writing. No matter what I did I couldn’t break the pain cycle or the emotional and creative slump. However, I did have tickets to see Nick Cave live in Melbourne last night. I knew this is EXACTLY what I needed to refill the creative and emotional well. I have seen Nick Cave live nearly every time he has toured (pain permitting). But I spent the whole day yesterday battling with myself. Part of my brain was screaming – STAY HOME AND REST, YOU’RE IN CRAZY PAIN! The other part of my brain, the part that won out screamed – FUCK IT – LIVE! So, I went. I dragged myself kicking and screaming to see my Muse. I have always considered seeing Nick akin to going to church because it is always a mystical experience. Sure enough, as soon as the doors opened and we rushed the stage I forgot my pain and rocked out (with some help from my BFF). My creative well was full the moment he walked on stage. His presence alone blows me away. He is a beautiful menace of a man – half devil and half god. His arms slice the air like knives and he has the glare of a starving wolf. We somehow managed to get front row. Nick held my hand and sang in to my eyes on several occasions (I assume this now means Nick and I are married, right? And no, I will not be washing my hands or my eyes any time soon.) Seeing Nick whip up a wild storm of music and energy reminded me of why I love what I do, what it is about art that makes my soul sing despite the pain my body might be in. So, even though today might be a physical hell last night was worth it. My creative well is full and I am feeling happy (I had forgotten happy was even an emotion!) I am inspired (YES!) and hope that I can get back to my writing with verve once the acute pain passes either tomorrow or the next day. Some of you might wonder how Nick Cave can possibly inspire a erotic-romance writer. This is a question for another blog post I am working on about WHY I write erotic-romance with a twist of paranormal darkness. But let’s just say, most romance authors I talk to can see a love story in nearly every thing. To me, every Nick Cave song is a terribly haunting romance story that grips my soul with ragged claws and wont let go… Just how I like them 😉 Thank you Nick, and all the other artists that inspire me. Thank you for reminding me why I do what I do and making the world an easier place for the misfits to live and create in. Also, thanks to my best friend who helped me stand for most of the concert (you have a surprisingly comfortable shoulder). My best friend and I have been friends for over twenty years and have shared a deeply profound love of Nick Cave all throughout our adventures and expect we will continue to do so until we fall six feet under. So, fingers crossed I can get back to editing Rain ASAP and finishing those poems that are haunting the shadows of my mind. Remember friends; keep filling that creative well as often as you drink from it. No matter where you find sustenance, drag yourself kicking and screaming and do it. I have started a YouTube Channel (I am so tech savvy!) I have uploaded Jack the Ripper from last night’s set. Enjoy!