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Creative Vomit

Posted on March 16, 2012 and read 2,862 times

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benspic Creative VomitBenjamin Sampson

Can becoming sick be the best thing for you?

It happened yesterday while my newish girlfriend was talking about her past sex life. I swallowed my own vomit. I think it was pizza from the night before. I knew this because it tasted a lot like pizza does from the night before – better.

It’s a common phenomenon for creative people all over the world. They love what they do with mind and body, and when this is compromised, reciprocal events can arise quite literally and with the full co-operation from vital organs.

This is by no means a weakness. On the contrary it means you have a point of view, a stomach, a standard to keep, you have ideas and most importantly you care about them.

We should remember a creative job can be a rare one:

Where 6 months of work can vanish in 6 seconds – vomit.

By someone who is forcing you to put animated arms and legs on fruit or something like that – vomit.

And these people are all wearing those pressed shirts with a different colored cuff and collar to the actual shirt – vomit.

Now swallow.

If there is some sort of relief for the considered captive creative in this situation, it is this: although your head may tell you to constantly stick it out, your body will ultimately decide when enough is enough and propel you out the door and away from your captors to at least different, if not greener pastures.

I admit there is a compromise in this position. This feeling can actually work in the complete opposite way. It can mean you are in a good and new space and you have something fresh and you want to keep it that way. And you won’t, not by the hairs on your chinny-chin-chin, let the wolf wearing the shirt with a different colored cuff and collar to the actual shirt – blow it all down. So again, you vomit with your mouth closed.

I’m sure all people who have been half pregnant with the rare privilege of good ideas, theories and ventures have experienced morning sickness of their very own. Newton, Gandhi, Dawkins and Hitch, Columbus (on his way home), the guy who created the mini cocktail umbrellas, Springsteen with ‘Born to run’ lyrics in his tight denim pocket, Cormac McCarthy’s mother and the caveman or woman who found fire – all sick from what they beheld.

In our recent experience, there’s been ideas submitted that make us walk around sipping tea frantically and feeling a bit sick, it’s the good sick feeling though and we know from this that we’re in a different space because it rarely goes away, no matter what end of what airport lounge in what city we visit.

It was interesting to discover that creative vomit can manifest in different ways, too. My former creative partner and good friend, now working in one of New York’s fancier agencies, poos a lot – the creative vomit’s physiological counterpart.

In the good graces of popular culture no article shall go to print without a crass generalization parading as proof so here’s mine: When have you last seen a very fat creative genius not including John Candy? Facebook guy – skinny, Mr Jobs – skinny, Picasso – not very fat. Case closed.

At the risk of this piece becoming a joke about shit and vomit, I bring you back to its very real, yet tedious core. If you’re habitually half-vomiting in your creative life, you’re either definitely in the wrong place, or definitely in the right place.

All you can really do is set your creative compass straight, be prepared to swallow more than your pride and know that if you never feel a bit sick in your day-to-day, you may have just arrived in creative no man’s land – vomit.

  • Alexander Patterson

    Further, the quantity of incidents has increased in the last few years, yet somehow, we accept them.




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