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Creativity Under Fire
Creativity Under Fire : Navigating by Starlight

Creativity Under Fire

Navigating by Starlight During the Darkness of December

By Molly J. Anderson-Childers

Muse Chiaroscuro

Muse of Shadows,

Muse of Light,

Guide me through my soul's dark night.

Let hope and joy light my way

Sure as night follows day.

Follow the Muse of Shadows. She will lead you through the thorn-trees. Follow her moonstone path through the forest of your soul's darkest night. Indeed, she is sometimes the only one who can lead you from the realm of darkness into the light.

December is the darkest month, boasting the longest night of the year at Winter Solstice. It is also the time to celebrate the return to the light. Days will grow longer; winter's snow-storms will soon give way to summer sunshine. In this Solstice season of darkness and light, I turn to my work for solace. This winter, I've got a number of projects going to help pass those long winter nights.

My writer's group, Wild Women Writing, is preparing for our first public reading in a couple of weeks, so I'm working on a few pieces to read aloud and trying to spread the word. A group of my girlfriends is volunteering at the local soup kitchen to serve breakfast one Sunday a month, and my hubby and I will be getting up uncharacteristically early to join them. I'm working on a few new stories, and I'm participating in the Art House Coop Sketchbook Project this year as well. I like to stay busy and keep the creative juices flowing. When I'm not burning the candle at both ends with a new novel, I'm working on a collage or a painting. I'm also working to finish a crazy quilt I started years ago. It lived in storage for ages, and I decided I want to try and finish it this winter. It's a big project — but when I'm done it will keep us warm for years.

For many, the holidays are a torturous, expensive, painful and lonely slog from Thanksgiving to New Year's Eve. All that forced gaiety and eggnog — bah, humbug! Over a period of several years, I lost my grandfather, my favorite uncle, and my mother — all in late December, within a week of Christmas. I've spent Christmases in hospitals and funeral homes — which makes it tough to summon the proper holiday spirit, even years later. When I'm feeling blue and desperate I reach for the pen, the paintbrush. In the dark time following my mother's death I wrote obsessively. My creative work was a much-needed escape hatch from the grim, raw reality of my grief. It was a safe vessel for my sadness and rage and pain — and it was an integral part of my healing process.

You're never truly alone. Your muses will guide you in your journey — every step of the way. Together, they weave shadows into starlight to help you navigate the dark places of the soul. •

© 2010 Molly J. Anderson-Childers. All rights reserved.

Molly Anderson-Childers is a a highly creative writer and artist from Durango, Colorado. More »