The Rabbit Trail of Creativity

Loie Fuller Taught Me Some Moves


COULD ONE POSSIBLE BLOCK to our creativity be…our creativity? I came up against that question this week and now must admit that, for me, the answer is a definite yes. I have Loie Fuller, “the Butterfly Girl,” to thank for it.

I had stumbled upon a quirky little black-and-white film clip from 1902 documenting a mesmerizing performance by Fuller, an apparently famous turn-of-the-century American dancer. And I was mesmerized, not because her performance is technically flawless or artistically significant. It’s none of that, as a century down the road her dance moves have turned into a cliche. But it has a sweet innocence that in the moment transported me. (More about that another time.)

The creative interference came because electrical storms in my head were short-circuiting another creative thing I wanted to be doing at that moment, which is of course writing these books.

Instead,  going off like fireworks were ideas of what I could do with this minute-long, hundred-year-old, silent film clip. Adding music. Editing it with captions. And in other ways, heading down the rabbit trail of yet another creative project, all because Loie Fuller seemed to be acting out a dream that a character in one of my books might have had. That seemed worth sharing.

Only it wasn’t the creative project I needed to focus on.

So I made myself a deal: to get it out of my system, I’d throw some music on it and post it (to see that, click here). At some point, when the books are being edited or in some other way off my plate, I’d come back and do it justice.

And it worked. It satisfied for now that gnawing, pestering compulsion to make more art, to share something of significance, and let me get back to the writing I really want to do.

My point is that, while sometimes we must ignore a creative impulse that’s interfering with another, more significant movement in us, there are other times when we just have to scratch the itch, if only just a little, before getting back to that main thing.

To begin reading the series of posts that comprise the true life story behind The Butterfly Myths, click here. To get on the list for free downloads of the Butterfly Myths series, planned for release in 2017, complete the email form below

Loie Fuller, American dancer and theatre innovator known as the “Butterfly Girl.” (1902)



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