You hear a lot these days about how desensitized we’ve all become from the reality of the world around us. From violence to tragedy to advertising, we’ve managed to build up filters that keep us safe and sane. Let’s be honest, if you let yourself react to every story you see on your local news you’d soon be a quivering mess on the floor – terrified, sobbing and depressed. If you noticed every advertisement you were exposed to, your brain would be filled useless information designed to modify your behavior.
However, have you considered that this desensitizing also works against you while you’re trying to create? That this useful shield for modern living might also be blocking things from coming out? The subtlety of detail, the depth of emotion and raw honesty that art demands are stuck behind the same barrier that you use to not cry when you see a story about a grieving mother on TV.
Why not let yourself the freedom to notice details again? To feel other people’s emotions as if they were happening to you? To actually hear the cars driving by your bedroom window as you fall asleep? To taste food? To feel the socks on your feet right now?
You can always put the shield back up when you need it, but can you take it down when you want to?
You will never lack for ideas and materials if you resensitize yourself. Taking a shower can be of operatic proportions if you feel each drop of warm water hit your skin. Petting a dog and feeling each hair on your hand as the dog relaxes, reassured that its taken care of, is an epic story. This is not exaggeration of the truth, but emphasis on a moment.
How you react to things is how you communicate your perspective on the world. If you cut yourself off from reacting to it, it’s impossible to put anything of meaning back into it.