Dybbuk

Dybbuk

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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