Saturday, December 24, 2016

The Creativity

I have to say, I love 25 Days of )en.   It is one of my favorite Christmas traditions. It keeps the gears of my mind oiled, it gives me the sense of constant movement and progression, which I need in my life. I saw a friend the other day whom I haven't seen in a while and she asked if I got my hair cut. I told her, always.  One of the things I love about having short hair (it is dumb to be talking about my hair, I realize. But it's still a "thing," for women, you know?) is that feeling I get of constantly being in flux. I never know what I want my stylist to do when I get it cut because I never remember how exactly it was when I liked it because that phase lasted about three days. I should probably be taking more selfies (a philosophy that is certainly always true) and when I learn how to do my hair I have to stop and change the way I do it because it's different now. I like that. It's frustrating but I still like it. It forces me to re-think and adapt and again, gives me the sense of change and fluctuation, that life is moving forward and I am aboard that train.  And that's enough about my hair (in this post, anyway).  

That said, every year I am terrified to do 25 Days of )en.  Especially if I've been a little stagnant and haven't been posting often. I'm afraid I've lost my words, once and for all, and to force myself to find at least some of them for every day for almost a month is daunting to me. I'm scared I can't do it. But then I do.  In some type, in some form, of some caliber, anyway.  It just feels good to me that every 5th day or so I can choose to start digging and actually find something. On this subject, and the subject of creativity, I recently asked a question to a couple of my friends.  Here is the question, followed by their responses:

Would you mind thinking about creativity in terms of yourself? What it does for you, what type do you love best, how you exhibit it, etc?

My friend required a response to my own question first so I obliged by saying,

"I get an enormous amount of satisfaction when I put thoughts and ideas into physical form. Like the shaping and molding of clay (purely as metaphor as I cannot sculpt).  You know, the feeling of, where there was nothing, now there is something.  I LOVE that, and nothing makes me feel more fulfilled or productive in my day.  It can really be anything, but I often get this feeling from writing.  I feel like I dug into myself and unexpectedly found treasure.  Not that it's all diamonds, mind. But haven't you ever dug unwittingly and at least found like a cool rock? And you were like, that was there the whole time!"*

* it is weird to quote myself in my own blog. I once listened to a man giving a talk who said, "to quote myself..." and I was like {huge grin emoji}

My friend said, "any time I can create (put a piece of me into something) I feel enlightened! Whether it's teaching something--reading, writing, songs, etc, altering a recipe, designing a card. I think creativity is putting a piece of you in the world. And the world and you become one for just a split moment and together you sigh in the beauty you've created." 

I asked another friend this same question and she responded responded with,

"I feel like for me it's an outlet where I can put all my thoughts and ideas into something real. All the things in my head can be expressed.  Also it helps me to be me. Not just a "stay at home mom."  It's like my version of being a working mom.  I like when my creativity can be shown in something physical- like a quilt, a well thought-out gift basket, artwork, graphic art or some type of DIY project/craft. Anything visual!"

I attended a class where a portion of it was devoted to the creative process.  The woman lecturing asked the audience when they felt creative.  People gave some answers. She then asked, "what do you think about when you have nothing to think about?"  And I rubbed my hands together and said, now that's my kind of question! 

I think her point was to bring up the idea that there isn't enough in-between time for people and that maybe that's where true inspiration lies. That we don't give ourselves enough of a chance to let our minds wander.  I could not even list all the things I think about when I have nothing to think about.  But I loved thinking about this question. 

I recently listened to a podcast with John Irving, novelist, who had spoken for some event and it was recorded in the Academy of Achievements (podcast is called What it Takes).  He talked about the writing process for himself and at one point he likened it to wrestling. Wrestling is a series of moves that you do over and over and over again until they become second nature. You maybe adjust your reaction time or whatever but in relation, writing to him is more revision and repetition, less inspiration.  You get better the more you do it. I like this and believe it to be true but I'm also a believer in the inspiration of a moment, sort of as experiment. I like sitting down and seeing what will happen, if anything. I definitely go back to things I've written (and again and again) but I love the thrill of what if I sat down here for a moment and something happened, new and interesting? It's rare, but what if?

Mr. Irving referred to himself not as an artist, but a craftsman, and that in writing his novels, he was building a house.  But what if it was a house with a particularly inspired foundation? Anyway, I'm rambling but my point is: to create is to live, to live is to create. I bet that's a famous quote from somewhere.  Thanks for reading, Internet pals, and Merry Christmas Eve.

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