Sunday, 6 June 2010

Banishing the Ghost

We talk often, we artist of the dreaded painters block. I have been so grateful to all the friends I have met on here who have offered such support during my longest ever non productive spell. Now I am not just talking about painting. The same has happened to me in the past in my time of making music. When a tune buzzed around in my head but I could not get it out. Or another time while writing poetry and the words just would not come.

I remember a real classic moment of block, thank goodness the shortest ever. I was conducting a Sunday morning service. Easy enough you would think, considering I did it some times six times on a Sunday. There I was in full flight leading the congregation in prayer. I never wrote my services or sermons just short notes. I came to that point where the congregation joined in with the Lords Prayer. Halfway though it I could not remember the next line. I looked up to see about 900 pairs of eyes looking at me in silence. Not one person thought to just keep going. Then in unison we continued, the block gone.

Here is a little tale of the man who banished his block.

The wife of a man became very sick. On her deathbed, she said to him, "I love you so much! I don't want to leave you, and I don't want you to betray me. Promise that you will not see any other women once I die, or I will come back to haunt you."

For several months after her death, the husband did avoid other women, but then he met someone and fell in love. On the night they were engaged to be married, the ghost of his former wife appeared to him. She blamed him for not keeping the promise, and every night thereafter she returned to taunt him. The ghost would remind him of everything that transpired between him and his fiancé that day, even to the point of repeating, word for word, their conversations. It upset him so badly that he couldn't sleep at all.

Desperate, he sought the advice of the master. "This is a very clever ghost," the master said upon hearing the man's story. "It is!" replied the man. "She remembers every detail of what I say and do. It knows everything!" The master smiled, "You should admire such a ghost, but I will tell you what to do the next time you see it."

That night the ghost returned. The man responded just as the master had advised. "You are such a wise ghost," the man said, "You know that I can hide nothing from you. If you can answer me one question, I will break off the engagement and remain single for the rest of my life." "Ask your question," the ghost replied. The man scooped up a handful of beans from a large bag on the floor, "Tell me exactly how many beans there are in my hand."

At that moment the ghost disappeared and never returned.

A case of know yourself, the master knew that the ghost was the ghost of his own creation.

Oh, the picture at the top is a picture of the strange ghost that resides in my head. No matter what I do I cannot seem to banish him.

This blog is linked to my other blog  Pendo


  1. Something about that ghost residing in your head. I think I have one of those too!

  2. What would you counsel an accomplished artist-minister-teacher-musician-writer-runner-barstool-philosopher if he were to ask your advice for what to do about a creative block?

    Maybe this block has created just the break you needed from what worked to something new and heretofore unknown. Just a thought.