You’re Soaking In It—Creative Unresolve and the Good Life
The issues that roil your nerves and kick you in the gut may be instrumental in pushing you forward.
A few days back I wrote about sitting with unresolve as long as you can, as one method for producing creative ideas. John Cleese had a few choice words on the topic. After talking about this in class and listening to Mr. Cleese and experiencing it afresh with my own writing, I realized a couple of ancient voices had been swarming around, punching me in the face with this very point—only applying it to the rest of life.
One voice is a warrior-poet. Aside from being handy with a lyre and deadly with a sling and stone, he had a very lucid and descriptive (often prescriptive) way of asking God to do terrible things to his enemies. And yet, though he often had the power and opportunity to take action, he didn’t. Instead, he turned from the shortcut, obvious solution and waited. We all know that waiting for God seems to take longer than anyone likes.
Same thing with another Old Testament character—Habakkuk. He saw bad stuff coming (a brutish band of thugs coming to decimate his homeland) and decided also to fix his attention on God. And wait.
Something happens when we wait. Sometimes we can fix things in life right away. Often we can’t. So we wait. And just like when we’re working through a creative solution to a thorny business or communication problem, we sit with unresolve and let the discomfort itself push us forward.
Same thing with life. We wait and seek and wait. And–this may be most critical—we reach out. We reach out when things are not right with us. And reaching out is nearly always worthwhile. Reaching out looks like a phone call. Reaching out looks like an email. Like prayer.
Some students from my copywriting class are graduating. Everyone says it’s a low-energy job market—difficult for the job hunter. I sympathize. To these graduates I simply offer the notion that your creative unresolve can lead you forward into networking, conversation and, yes, to reach out in prayer.
I still maintain that the best stuff in life happens in and through the choices and actions made directly from chaotic, creative unresolve.