Do you have a Secret Self?

Turns out I have five, although Emma only has three. I hope she doesn’t mind you knowing that. One of mine would like a table at the Ivy without booking. How is that creative?

Look, once you set your imagination rolling with an exercise like ‘What’s your secret self?’, of course you’re creating. Telling lies is creative, you know.

And so it was, that on a very cold Monday evening, a group of us sat down at the first Squatting Toad Creative Networking Evening to a) talk about our creative endeavours and b) get our creative juices flowing in exercises lead by the wonderful Tania Hummel of Thrive.

If you’ve listened to the podcast, you’ll recognise Tania’s name. We interviewed her a while ago for thoughts on creativity and on balancing your life. Catch it again here. She was the perfect leader for what I wanted us to achieve that night. It was all about removing barriers. Some of the questions she threw at us, we had to answer really quickly, without thinking. As she said, once you let your logical brain take over, it’s likely to find a reason why you can’t.

Some of the more personal questions were difficult. Who wants to remember why their parents thought their creative ambitions were pointless? But the answers reveal a lot about our own anxieties.

Don’t worry, the evening wasn’t too heavy. We ate a lot of chips and put the world to rights in our own way, and we made new friends too. Creating can be a lonely endeavour, and, although my online friends and followers are really important, it’s joyous to spend time with like-minded folk in the upstairs room of a London pub.

So, come join us next time. I guarantee it will be fun and enlightening.

Oh, and those secret selves? Well, we all had to come up with five, and it’s then that you realise how many personae you don for different situations. So, if fear and anxiety are holding you back, maybe don the most confident one when you create. Tania didn’t say we couldn’t mix them up.

On a personal and ‘isn’t it a small world?’ note, one of our number, Cynthia, is a performance poet. As soon as she said this, a lightbulb came on. Battersea Arts Centre, Christmas 2006. I can see her on the stage now. ‘Were you there?’, she asked. ‘I was the MC’. Seems I made less of an impression than she did! We both came away from the evening with a desire to perform again, so watch this space!

Until then, keep creating and watch out for your secret selves. Why not give them names and a full wardrobe of clothes.








Author: squattingtoad

Mel is a comedy writer and performer, with a particular interest in creativity and a cynical interest in the workplace and how its idiosyncrasies (nicest word she could find) can drive us all mad.

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