Dybbuk, by Ephraim Moshe Lilien, 1874–1925

When you’re an artist, it’s so important to have artist friends who have an inherent grasp of why you do what you do.  I have a friend who was a year ahead of me at RISD, and I always love our conversations because she completely  understands the artistic impulse.  I don’t have to explain anything to her, she just gets it.  She is incredibly energetic and lively, and  I love feeding off her enthusiasm.

A few weeks ago, we were discussing that compulsive creative rampage that artists get possessed by.  She’s the same way; once I get stuck on an idea, I can’t leave it alone.  I develop this sense of urgency in my work that I have to satisfy.  I get so intensely focused that I give up a lot of personal time and comfort to fulfill the work.

My friend said that when she was a teenager and she got into that kind of mode, her mother would call it dybbuk.  She described it as an uncontrollable creative drive that burns inside you.   I looked up dybbuk later, and it was even darker than my friend’s description:  “Dybbuk is a malicious possessing spirit believed to be the dislocated soul of a dead person. It supposedly leaves the host body once it has accomplished its goal, sometimes after being helped.” (Wikipedia)

I absolutely love that feeling. When I’m in that frame of mind, it’s like everything around me disappears.  I’m so riveted by the work that I don’t even want to get up to eat lunch.   That’s really saying something- I’m a big foodie, and I spend most days day dreaming about the next time I get to eat. The drive is strong enough to the point that I can almost start to understand why those Silicon Valley engineers drink Soylent so they don’t have to interrupt their work.

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One thought on “Dybbuk

  1. I just wanted to say that I can’t wait for your project to be done. I have the dybuk but need to know more about what I’m doing.

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