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  • Writer's pictureJamie McCarthy

'Taming' or 'Being Tamed' by a Feral Cat - Creative Process.

28th August 2013.


After meditating this morning I started thinking about when I ‘tamed’ a feral cat a long time ago. I started comparing the cat to ‘inspiration’ or a creative idea. I started to play with the idea that I ‘tamed’ the cat by finding ways that I could simply be in the same space as the cat without getting impatient, by pretending I wasn’t bothered whether it came to me or not, so the cat would find it’s own way to me in it’s own time. I remember that apart from giving the cat food (which I think was definitely a big deal in this process), it was simply these times when I would sit pretending not to be focussed upon the cat that I felt led to her beginning to trust me.

I started thinking about how with creative ideas I often try and pretend to myself that I’m not trying to ‘tame’ them. I pretend I’m just playing about and seeing what comes out … that it doesn’t matter whether it’s ‘useful’ or not. Thinking back to the cat … I have the feeling that it was only when I actually stopped trying to get her to come to me that she did so. The trying wasn’t the important thing … in fact it kind of got in the way … perhaps she could sense I was trying to con her into coming over to me. I may of course be mis-remembering this in order to fit in with the thoughts I was having this morning. However, I do think there’s something about the most rich creative ideas coming to me when I stop trying … when I stop trying to approach them in a utilitarian way. I need to provide a time and a space … a structure for spending time with them, but there is maybe something here for me about not trying to do anything once I am in this space: trusting that if the ideas that are around for me at the moment and I occupy this structure of time and space together then something will happen … Trying doesn’t help … it just gets in the way.

I began to wonder what the ‘food’ was in this analogy. Is it my attention when the idea presents itself? Is it my time and space? Is it my technical ability to translate the idea into something in sound?

I also began to wonder if it was really me ‘taming’ the cat or the idea at all, whether it was in fact the cat ‘taming’ me … waiting until I was ready for it to come to me. It makes me feel a bit dizzy considering that creative ideas may be ‘taming’ me, waiting until they know I am ready to receive them. In which case I begin to wonder whether my creative process is more about setting up structures and processes whereby I can stop trying and prepare myself so the ‘cat’ knows I’m ready (perhaps ‘wild’ enough) for it to approach.

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