Craters, Crevices & Creativity
by Monica Kagan
Welcome to my column called "Craters, Crevices and Creativity"! I will be looking at the interaction between my depression, anxiety and the impulse to keep creating. It is a complicated relationship, which I will start to explore in this column. Although my column is focused on writing, I think that this can apply to any of the creative arts.
The words "contributing writer" feel so unfamiliar to me, but what an amazing feeling! Just the surge I need to bring me out of my depression for a while. I've haven't written a feature before, so please bear with me.
A part of me can’t believe I'm doing this. Is it wise to share so much of myself with the 'public'? I come from the pre-social media generation and it takes some getting used to.
I do love social media and am regularly on Facebook and Twitter. I belong to a fantastic writer's group on Facebook. Social media is a wonderful way to connect with like-minded people such as the wonderful people in the Rhythm and Bones Literary Magazine community and the Bonnie's Crew community. Not to mention, giving me the opportunity to contribute to the #Necropolis blog.
I've struggled my whole life with depression and concomitant anxiety. I started writing in my early twenties in fits and starts. Initially I focused on novels. As yet I have not reached a second draft of a novel. So a few half-finished novels lie in limbo in my drawer and on my pc. As much as I'd like to publish a novel, I'm not sure if I have it in me.
At times when I create I feel so happy. At other times, it's excruciating and anxiety provoking. How do I keep going? I'm not sure. I do spend a lot of my time thinking about writing. I'm not very prolific and part of the reason I wanted to write this feature is to encourage myself to allow my creativity to blossom.
I started writing short stories and poems more recently in the last few years. I find that I naturally gravitate towards these forms, particularly poetry. The inspiration for the title of this column came from a poem I wrote some time ago called "The Talisman" originally published in Scarlet Leaf Review in October 2017.
Here is "The Talisman" if you would like to read it:
by Monica Kagan
Profusion of panic
Trapped in the vast depths
of a crater;
I thrust my hand into my pocket.
Originally published in Scarlet Leaf Review (October 2017)
From the craters and the crevices of my psyche my creativity strives to free itself. The craters and crevices are ever-present and ever challenging. Depression and anxiety plague me as I struggle to make my way through life. Somehow writing, no matter how intermittent, remains a constant in my life.
Sometimes like a siren, writing draws me back into its embrace. My work explores aspects of myself, just the act of creating itself. Creating for me is a form of self-discovery and being published gives me the opportunity to share my writing with the world and hopefully help some people along the way.
I spend a lot of time questioning whether I have talent, and if so, is it enough? Am I good enough? Is my writing good enough?
I don't know, but I do know that I will continue to write.
Monica Kagan lives by the sea in beautiful Cape Town, South Africa with her wonderful cat. She enjoys bewitching words and is a reader at FICTION on the WEB. She is a regular feature writer at Rhythm & Bones Literary Magazine's blog called Necropolis. Her work appears in Fourth & Sycamore (USA), Bonnie's Crew (UK), and at FICTION on the WEB (UK), among others. Her flash fiction piece "The Staircase" is forthcoming at Rhythm & Bones Literary Magazine (USA) in October 2018. Twitter: @MonicaOFAH