• Carrie Akre

Creativity and Grief - Topics

Just listened to such a great interview with Elizabeth Gilbert on TED Talks daily podcast. Nov 22, 2018 episode. Go listen now if you need words on creativity and grief.

It has been just what I needed. I have had these thoughts and so many answers were in this interview.


1. My question: Why should I bother to write more music? - So many measurements of success for music are how many people come to your shows, how many likes your YouTube page/social media posts get, how many people buy your CDs or download, are all social media channels firing/constantly having to post and being followed, getting big tour/show invites and things are building bigger and more...

What if I don't want to chase anything? I'm 52, I'm a mom, I work 40 hrs a week and that time I was a local rock star is past...right? Am I a failure? Should I be done? Why bother? I still wrestle with fear and I'm sick of it.

Answers that resonated for me:

1. Make art to see what it turns me into/how it shapes my life - respect/allow for the mystery - EG - "the process of having made something will transform you" "you'll be a different human being at the other end of it than you were at the beginning" and "it's so interesting to see who you'll be" - that's a bottom line that keeps you going. Have a bottom line/reason.[VG1]

2. Enjoy the mystical fact that music comes to me out of nowhere - the fact that it even happens is amazing - Elizabeth G thinks that ideas are out and about looking for someone to realize them - magic - I believe in magic - live there.

3. Be in the now - see where creativity leads me - be only in the moment and let the future take care of itself and it will - see where it takes you - EG: "creativity comes in whispers and you need the patience to follow it" - curiosity journey - it will be revealed

4. Courage - allow for fear - EG: "make it a part of the family not the death of creativity" - all of us wrestle with fear and it's a shared humanity that we all go through. I'm not alone.

5. Be in service to - be in service to your art - you don't need to see the end game/just be a piece in the evolving story. Music has gotten me through breakups, death and other life passages. I've heard from fans who've graciously let me know that my music has helped. Massive reason #2 to keep writing music.


I'm a member of this tribe. My mother died 5 years ago and I'm just now crawling out from underneath (and I consider myself strong). I feel much better but I can see there was no rushing this thing called grief. For those who've lost someone they love.

This is for anyone who is grieving.

1. There is so little out there on grief and how it goes. People don't know how to help or be with you. You're not alone.

2. Be in it. It is bigger than you and it's a moment to surrender but not stay down. Grief carves you out like no other thing but try to remember this is a human experience. We will all go through it. It's real and it will take its time. There is no controlling it and that is ok. EG: "Surrender to being moved through the landscape of grief. It has its own timeframe and itinerary. It's a bow down and carves you out. It cannot be resisted without hurting you more. Let it rock you until it's done with you and it will be done with you and leave. To resist is to hurt yourself, "It's a full body experience".

3. Keep one toe in something you love - could even be something you smell, touch, see, listen to (birds, music, water, wind) - no big movements necessary

4. Cry when you need to - don't get in the way - let it out. You are human - it's normal - even if it's year later. Never not cry - it's not good for you to hold it in. This is what I tell my son.

5. It can take a long while, but it will change. I think even sweet friends think you're done in a couple months but don't be scared when I say it may be a few years. The sadness will decrease but while it's around honor the sadness that represents love. If you’re angry - honor that as well - I think its basis is in love too. You're mad because you are capable of love.

6. Dance a little - just sway if you need to - or move to Stevie Wonder if you can - I've turned to Stevie for grief, root canals, break ups – all-purpose joy music

7. Yes you now have little room for bullshit. Doesn't that feel great? :)

8. Now that you are experiencing this you'll be stronger to do what you really want. Because why wouldn't you? You're gonna die as well, so what are you doing? I like this kind of thought and use it daily. Time for change.

9. Slowly honor the one you love instead of just thinking of it as a loss. Turn it toward gratitude and honor while still crying! :0

I know not everyone grieves the same way. I know not everyone loses someone they loved or even liked. Some people feel relief and that is right for them. We are all in this together, I'd like to think. For those who are devastated, be very kind to yourself. Be private if you like. Know that you are right on time. 3,4,5 years later you're still on time. It will be done with you when it is and it will be. In the mean time I send you true love and respect for you. I'm thinking of you even if I don't know you.

Peace to all people. May love and kindness be all around you.


#carrieakre #creativity #grief #music #health


© 2016 by Carrie Akre