the 5 stages of creative grief

June 10, 2010

in communication,humor

because we creatives regularly see our creations “die” at the hands of others, we routinely experience the stages of grief. you might recognize them as kübler-ross’; ours have a tad more flair.

stage 1: you’re freakin’ kidding me! (denial)creativegrief

this stage goes deeper than denial. it’s more akin to unrelenting disbelief that her* creative brilliance isn’t being recognized.

stage 2: but i am an artiste (anger)

in this stage, the creative digs in and is absolutely intractable about altering one single word or image.

stage 3: bread and butter (bargaining)

during stage 3, the creative collects herself enough to explain, through clenched teeth, her choices and, in a last-ditch effort to save things, offer acceptable alternatives.

stage 4: the misunderstood artist (depression)

having failed to save her creation, the creative mopes about and ponders whether she should create only for herself. hole up in a parisian garret to smoke gauloises and drink espresso. or perhaps be less dramatic and just down the tequila.

stage 5: securing a new patron (acceptance)

in this final stage, the creative realizes there are other clients—clients who appreciate her mastery and sensitive nature and marvel at both.


* the use of the word “her” throughout should in no way suggest that this is personal.

this post is dedicated to frank roche who inspired it while listening to my bitching and moaning.

[image: paulo brandão]

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

autom June 10, 2010 at 9:58 am

haha luv the way you described stage 4 (parisian melodrama vs a good shot of tequila)


CV Harquail June 10, 2010 at 10:36 am

Autom, we artistes describe # 4 as the choice between “Mimi” and “Carmen”. And, oh, how that captures the drama of Just. Not. Being. Appreciated.


autom June 10, 2010 at 11:24 am

cv – great analogy, know (and luv) Bizet’s opera – totally agree – a


fran June 10, 2010 at 1:11 pm

cv, autom knows of my love for bette davis’ “all about eve” character,margo channing. i’m fairly certain i’d go for downing the tequila and hell-raising, having very little long-term tolerance for moping.



Frank Roche June 10, 2010 at 2:25 pm

Wow…we have all died this death together. And the idea of holing up in a Parisian garrett and smoking Gauloiuses…what a great idea. I always wanted to wear a beret with panache.


fran June 10, 2010 at 4:31 pm

i can see you in that beret, in a cafe with le monde.



Frank Roche June 10, 2010 at 2:26 pm

Ah…smiling…I just saw the dedication. I am honored, indeed.


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