Precipices and the Creative Life

Teetering on the PrecipiceTo be a writer (insert “artist,” “musician,” et cetera) is to embrace fear. It’s to embrace a fear of failure. It’s to embrace a fear of success. It’s to embrace a fear of the known and the unknown.

Such fears can be paralyzing. They can result in blank pages and canvases. They can lead to dust accumulating upon the piano or guitar. They sometimes cause the hands, mind, and heart to forget what it is like to create, which is, perhaps, the most dangerous place to be. It’s much harder to return from that place than it is to return from a blank page or dusty instrument.

Most of the time, though, creative people live and work upon a precipice. On one side resides failure – a botched poem or drawing – and on the other resides success and its accoutrements and expectations. On one side is knowledge – scary – and on the other is ignorance – equally scary. The creative person lives in that world. He or she chooses to create despite knowing that the work is teetering on the edge of collapse.


  1. Yes! Beautifully stated.