Growing Up Jeub · Psychology and mental illness

Therapeutic Creativity

Image: a painting with a black background with an yellow/red/orange sun in the center, a maroon planet with a shiny green ring off to the upper right, below the arm of a galaxy illuminated with silver clusters of stars. Crossing from the middle of the left side to the top, there is a spiral of shiny blue and green intertwining. A blue planet lurks in a dark upper left corner, three moons surrounding it – the biggest moon, to its right, is gold, and two smaller moons are to its left, blue and silver. In the lower left corner are twin planets, the slightly larger one is gold and the slightly smaller one is a shiny green. Finally, in the lower right corner and swooshing across to the bottom-center of the painting is a wave of silver dot stars over dark blue swirls.

Today to procrastinate on writing my daily blog post, I’m updating my page about the themes I’ll be covering in my memoir. People online have been asking if I’m still writing it, and the short answer is I’m working on it very very slowly. The reason for this is that I’m quite young and haven’t put much time between myself and the events of that time yet, and it’s hard to write about trauma. I’ve been telling my Patreon patrons about this for some time: It can be counterproductive to recovery to continuously unpack the traumatic events.

I didn’t even realize my family was cult-like until I was 22 years old. I’m 28 now, and my book’s master document has…79,456 words. Not including the work-in-progress chapters, of which I’m working on two. It isn’t fully drafted. I expect that it will take at least a few more years before it’s physically in print. Memoirs take careful simmering, and I may not be ready to say what I need to say for a long time still. I’m not rushing, because some of the best memoirs of all time were not completed at a young age by their authors. I recently finished Boy, Roald Dahl’s memoir about his childhood, which he didn’t write until he was more than twice my age. (Thank you to the sponsor who sent the book!)

That’s why I’m engaging in three therapeutic things: writing fiction, writing shorter and less edited blog posts, and painting. This is giving me the space to reawaken my creativity instead of succumbing to writer’s block over a memoir that I may not be capable of finishing very quickly.

The painting is going well. I took an interest in painting when I was very young, but due to the number of younger siblings I had, nothing was safe from being destroyed by very small children and toddlers. One Christmas when I was six or seven, all my aunts and uncles got me art supplies. I received paints, giant paper, brushes, the works – each a gift that showed they saw my artistic ability and wanted to encourage it. As a final surprise, my grandfather revealed a wooden easel he’d built for me and painted navy blue and white. It was just my height, so I could easily reach. I picked up color schemes and learned how to mix primaries to get the colors I wanted for the next few weeks of winter. Then one day, my little sister poured my paints together until they turned a horrid brown color, and spread it all over the easel. I don’t remember the repercussions, just that I lost interest in painting. I returned to it about 6 months ago when I bought some canvases and a cheap set of acrylics. Now I’m working on painting every day with eagerness.

I won’t say much about writing fiction just yet because I want it to remain fun instead of obligatory, and so far it has been. I’ve been writing fiction with a companion, who has created a fantasy world, and I have built a character to play, and we email back and forth, adding to the story in small increments. I don’t know where this will lead as far as developing more fiction of my own, but if you’d like to see a story I wrote, I published this one a while back: The Legend of the Snow Fairies

Finally, short blog posts. I think I have enough here for today, and I can sign off. I’ll be back for small portions of nonfiction writing here on the blog as regularly as I can.