Often, I imagine all the writers and artists of the world, toiling away in our separate creative spaces, scattered, but connected by our need to create. I love to look at photographs of writers, but it’s not the portraits displayed on book jackets that I want to see, it’s those of the writer captured at work. I want to scrutinise their tools, their notes, their keepsakes – to watch the creative process at work. I think of them engaged in their work at old battered desks, piled with papers and books; at scoured kitchen tables, littered with coffee mugs; curled up in bed against a pile of cushions; or scribbling in a notebook among the bustle of a busy cafe. I love, too, to see artists in their surroundings: in huge industrial spaces filled with mysterious objects; airy attics crammed with canvases and adorned with clods of paint; or perched with easel or sketchbook on the brow of a mountain or in the hollow of a sand dune.
What we all have in common, when we’re immersed in our work, is that we’ve found our place between the worlds, where the magic of creativity can occur. The phrase ‘between the worlds’ is sometimes used by witches to describe the space generated when we cast a circle. It’s a space apart from, but within, normal life. Most of us don’t have our own dedicated ritual space, just as many of us don’t have a separate study or studio, so the circle acts as a marker, conjured from energy, in which to enact the ritual. And I believe this is also what happens when we create. I don’t cast a circle when I write or paint, but almost unconsciously, I build an intangible space around myself, forged from the energy I’m using to create. The real world becomes blurred as I get lost in words or images.
The places in which I work are varied and dependent on what it is I want to create. There’s a tiny room, packed with books, keepsakes, art and writing materials. It’s a peaceful space, with a comfortable chair and a blanket for warmth that I use for contemplation. There is the spot next to the window in our sitting room where my easel is placed, because it gets light and I can still interact with the life of the house. My creative space is also portable: it’s in my notebook, my sketchbook, my laptop. We all need a place where we feel we can create, but what space do you actually need? Is your creative space a physical one, or is it a space inside your head? None of the places I use are dedicated ones. But when I’m creating, they become sacred space of a kind, so that it’s possible to tune out the mundane things and forge something out of nothing. Magic is creativity and creativity is magic, in the sense that we’re using something we can’t see (energy), to make a physical change in the world.
If the world is nothing but energy, vibrating on different frequencies, as modern theories of physics seem to suggest, there’s nothing to stop us making creative space anywhere. And just as in magic, where the energy raised might be used to heal, to bind, to celebrate, so creative space can be used for many different purposes. Whenever we work, at that moment, in different parts of the world, there will be countless others writing, painting, sketching or sculpting, all using creative energy. If you try hard, you can feel the force of it, all that energy, like a furnace forging change. If you’re finding it difficult to focus, or to find a suitable space to dedicate to your craft, perhaps you can channel it. Consider the type of energy that you need and gather the circle around you to create your own world between the worlds.