“To measure eccentricity [the attributed “mark of the creative mind], researchers often use scales that assess schizotypal personality.” (ScientificAmerica)
A moment of reflection guides me today. In my lifetime, I have had the opportunity to meet some pretty incredible people. From the rich and famous to the solitary and obscure, from the loud and obnoxious to the quiet and unassuming. Angry people, happy people, sad people, loving people, phony people, and very real people…they have all crossed my proverbial path from one extreme to another and everything in-between. Each and every one of them provides me with fuel for my creative fires. No matter what flavor of person they are, inspiration is there to be found.
I am a people person. Even more, I am a people watcher. I am fascinated by each and every aspect of the human experience, and especially with their interactions with those around them, or the world around them. I once had a friend who sat with me while I made commentary on various observations I had on those I watched around me. His perplexed comment to me in return was that he couldn’t figure out what attracted my attention to each of the individuals in question. That each was different, that none had anything whatsoever in common with the other.
But they did. I was looking beyond the physical at the passion they displayed for their involvement in whatever it was that they were doing at the time. In the creative circles of science fiction and fantasy that I often find myself in, that passion is as varied as each individual themselves. But it is their passion, and the “presence” they exude that becomes a wonderful cross-section of the human experience for those perceptive enough to watch for it.
There are many things that I learn about myself on this journey of discovery that could either be called life, or the short road to insanity (and on any given day that can change!). Like I said, I’ve had the opportunity to meet some interesting people. Each one with whom I have had any form of exchange with has helped me to refine, to varying degrees, what I look for in life and how I use what they teach me in the pursuit of my written words and characters. It has also taught me just how malleable I am, willing to adapt and go with the flow.
One of my discoveries is that “presence” is an amazing aspect of the human experience. I mean, I’ve always recognized it to some extent. All of us have it, but presence is that indefinable “something” that actually defines us to others with a simple glance. It is something far beyond the physical, yet wraps our physical form, sometimes even overpowering it, not in a mask or disguise, but rather, strips away the masks and disguises that people attempt to wear. But only if you take the time to look—to really see—beyond the physical.
A couple of years back, I sat chatting with several people at an event. Movement caught from the corner of my eye made me turn my head. A woman strode across the room with such incredible, truly amazing presence that it left me in awe. This was from almost 30 feet away.
Now let me say this—I am really not attracted to women in a physical way. But I am confident enough and secure enough in who I am to appreciate beauty and grace in any form, male or female. And beauty for me goes far beyond physical attraction, just as presence does.
Was this woman beautiful? Absolutely…and in an exotic way. But far beyond the physical, it was her presence that drew my attention…captivated me to the point where I couldn’t look away. I almost felt a pang of disappointment and loss when her breezy, self-confident stride carried her into the next room and beyond my sight.
I have since had the opportunity to get to know this woman. Ironically, although we hadn’t met before that night, our life’s circles connected us in other areas not too long after that. Even through life’s adversities, her presence is always there, lingering and hovering around her even when she doesn’t feel in that space herself. True presence.
I recall one night, a while back, when I sat between two pretty amazing men. Both of them were well-known in their particular circles—even beyond the local level. Both were men with such incredible “presence” that I felt honored, not just to be sitting there with them, but also that they counted me within their circle of friends.
As I sat between those two men that night, I often found myself staring, not meaning to, but just absorbed in the sheer presence they exuded. There were differences, to be certain. But they were both unmistakably strong individuals. Both were very masculine, and yet, from within that core of masculinity came through a softer, caring, emotional aspect. Make no mistake, when I say soft, caring, emotional…I do not mean that their presence holds any feel of “feminine”…but more a feel of depth of true caring and understanding.
To me, they possessed a presence, like the woman I spoke of before, that draws beyond the physical senses. It is not just a presence that encases the place they physically fill in the immediate moment. It is an aura of “being” that naturally envelops the space around them as well.
It is such a space where I love to be taken to with the creative word, sound, visual place of being… This is the space to which I strive to be in with my own sharing of words, to take others into such a space. It is the place of “presence” that I think all creative types should strive to achieve, to capture the hearts and minds of others, if even for a short moment of time… It is a high bar to place on one’s self, and yet, for the creative mind, how can we not strive for such perfection of “presence”… a sharing of the passion within our souls…?
A high bar, indeed.