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  • Writer's pictureGina Greenlee, Author

All Chaos is Not Created Equal

Updated: Mar 15, 2019

Chaos Artwork

In America – my native country and the world culture I know best – we tend to denigrate chaos. American culture is designed to minimize it. Our institutions are built around avoiding it, never mind embracing it. Want to write? You cannot be a writer or artist of any stripe without tangoing with chaos. It is foundational to discovery, the heartbeat of artistic practice. Our work as emergent, ripening creatives is to reframe chaos and paradoxically, develop process that helps us to manage its exploration.

Consciously work with chaos as a key ingredient in the alchemic, artistic brew that cannot be effectively compartmentalized from life itself. How? In addition to ideas I’ve already shared and will continue in this blog, I’ve also written books that provide detailed road maps for such a journey:

To create a rich catalogue of art (commercial and not) as well as a textured, dynamic life, we must toggle between the brain’s executive (control) and default (flow) functions; between plan and adventure. When we depress creative chaos we thwart our procreative energies. This leads to a different kind of chaos, a self-inflicted one born from avoidance.

I recently attended a one-woman performance by actor, playwright and novelist Regina Taylor. An audience member asked, “How do you deal with writer’s block?” Ms. Taylor said that on occasions when she has experienced it, she believes it occurs when one is “afraid of one’s own mind.” Chaos accurately suggests you are not in control. Unless you get comfy with and learn to ride that not-so-comfy feeling, vacating your mind – blocking, distracting, dissociating – seems like a good choice. The challenge with such a vacation is that you need your mind to write. What if, instead of vacating, you dabbled with a short-lived staycation? Consider the possibility that whatever you discover will be more adventure than nightmare regardless of its outer packaging.

Bon voyage! On your journey, take with you this additional inspiration:


Freedom is just chaos, with better lighting.

Alan Dean Foster


Creativity thrives where its roots are crowded.

Ozzie Zehner, Green Illusions


The creative mind doesn’t require logical transitions

from one thing to another. It skips, jumps, doubles back, circles

and dives from one idea to the next.

Bonni Goldberg


When the creative impulse sweeps over you, grab it.

You grab it and honor it and use it, because momentum is a rare gift. Justina Chen, North of Beautiful


Accept chaos as a temporary state.

Lynda Barry


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