As you may know, if you are a regular reader, I am interested in many things – particularly those of a creative nature – and this blog is where I write about writing, people and poetry. So far, you may have read about writing and perhaps you’ve read some poetry, and other random thoughts – some of which you might relate to. For the most part, these thoughts have been about me and/or from my point of view.
I’ve always been interested in people, and what motivates them to do what they do, especially when they do it well. This series of interviews I’ve called Ordinary People, as they are with ‘ordinary’ people I admire for various reasons. For the most part, these people are creative in some way. As I am interested in what motivates them to do what they do and how they do it well, I thought you might be too.
I already know that you’re a great writer, as your blog and stories show… Are there any other ways in which you like to create?
Ah – no one’s ever called me a great writer before. From now on, you can ask me anything you like….
It’s strange – I never used to think of myself as a creative person. My fiction writing stopped when I didn’t have to write any more essays at school and didn’t start again until I hit upon a story as a way to explain social anxiety. The advantage of fiction, I realised, was that I could attribute feelings to a fictional character that real people wouldn’t admit to. Since then, I have created other stories and discovered that I really do have an imagination.
So, what was your question? Oh yes. I have played the piano and the violin and I have sung in a choir, but I hardly ever do those now and never really thought of them as creative. It wasn’t as if I composed music. I just performed it, not particularly well. I do like to dance and, I suppose, especially when there are no particular steps, that’s creative.
What’s your preferred creative channel?
I love writing and dancing. I also like fried eggs and ice cream. You wouldn’t expect me to choose between them, would you?
With dancing, I love moving my body to fit the music. I love being watched
doing it, being admired and emulated. I love being relaxed, giving myself up to the music and the dancing, forgetting all the things I usually worry about. With writing, I love forming words to describe a scene or a mood. I love the peacefulness of being alone with my story. I love to concentrate on the story and put all worries aside. Above all, in both cases, I love doing something I know I can do well.
What or who inspires you to create?
For most of my life, I’ve suffered from a disorder I didn’t know about. Discovering the name of it made a huge difference to me. It brought not only ways of dealing with it but also the camaraderie and relief of finding a whole community of others with similar problems, the knowledge that I’m not as weird as I’d thought.
So, what inspired me to begin writing, and also inspires me to continue, is a strong belief that social anxiety must be publicised so that people who suffer from it know about it and so that the rest of the world can have more of an understanding about what it means. I’m also inspired and encouraged by the lovely members of the writing group I attend. And by Gill, whom I wrote about here.
Tell us a bit about living with social anxiety and how this feeds your creativity.
I can answer this question, and all the others, because I can think about them while alone and write down the answers. If you’d asked me this in a face-to-face interview, my mind would have been full of thoughts that would have put me off giving a coherent, sensible answer. Thoughts like; I’m going to make a mess of this, I’m not maintaining eye contact as I should, my mind is blank – I don’t know how to answer, she must think I’m stupid. And so I hum and haw and don’t give a proper answer. Only later, when I’m on my own, when it’s too late, do I think of the answer I should have given. And then I’m cross with myself for not taking the opportunity to explain properly.
That’s a bit about living with social anxiety and also shows why social anxiety is not well known despite being quite common – the very nature of it prevents those who know what it’s like from explaining it.
How does it feed my creativity? As I mentioned before, I began writing in order to explain social anxiety. Also, I write because I’m not good at talking. But I’ve never thought of it in such a positive way before.
Finally, what would you say your values are?
I’ve never had to list them before. So I found a list of 374 values and here are those that I feel apply to me:
Acceptance, Accuracy, Belonging, Confidence, Education, Empathy, Encouragement,Enjoyment, Family, Honesty, Humour, Imagination, Kindness, Making a difference, Peace, Perseverance, Respect, Sympathy and Trust.
Thank you Miriam, for taking the time out to answer my questions! I hope you enjoyed answering them as much as I’ve enjoyed reading them.
Thank you, Rachael, for having me on your blog. I did enjoy answering the questions and discovering something about myself in the process. I look forward to reading the other interviews in the series.
If you would like to find out more about Miriam, head over to her blog An’ de walls came tumbling down.