First day of spring, another ‘year of musing’ … 11 years behind me. Fingers keep moving, ideas find their way to this page - Day 1, Year 12. I never have a plan. I write. My mood, my belly, things going on in my life inspire me plenty. I just start. By the end of the page it sometimes looks very different – but that doesn’t matter. It is what I make of it, and I sign my name. It is the best thing I do every day. Happy to share it with so many, but make no mistake – I do it for me.
When we create, what we create, we create from nothing. Sure, architects might use concrete and steel – but first they use paper. And a pencil.
Financiers move mountains of money and build commerce – but first, they use a napkin and a pen. And they call lawyers, who put it all on paper.
It all starts with lines and designs. And paper, and pencils. Just like a child drawing about their trip to grandma’s house. With paper, and crayons.
Write, paint, sculpt.
Talk, speak, argue.
Play. Invent. Innovate.
Creativity is not just about art. There might be more art in a complex negotiation than in a fine painting, more nuance in a romantic adventure than a heralded piece of architecture. And, the play, can create and re-create so much for us all.
I’m just writing a little column and I get enormous creative fulfillment from it – energy from it, inspiration from it.
It is about doing things that interest you because you want to do it without regard for whether anyone will say it is good or fine or superb – but because you need and want to do it.
Creativity and energy are linked to happiness – I’m convinced of that. We start – as beautifully creative children – when we have no rules. Until rules are given to us.
Play and creativity are fostered in early childhood – we are growing but declining at the same time because rules of conformity are given to us. Stay inside the lines. Be nice. Be obedient. Behave. Be on time. Be a team player. Be considerate. Be … be, be, be … so many things that most of us lost it all before we left school and then, the world of work and organizations drummed it out of us a little further. Go along. Get along. Conform. Comply.
How is it then, that by middle age the creativity in so many people has been diluted, diminished and nearly destroyed. Docility of the spirit is sad. By middle-age most of us have lost all memory of it and have little confidence we have any creativity left.
Can that playfulness, that creativity – in it be re-constituted? Good question.
About feeding creativity …
What does it need, what does it eat, what does it drink?
What does creativity need to survive, thrive and become alive?
I think I’m getting more creative. But, at the same time I’m getting older. Not to say that I’m losing a step or two, but I realize I’m more set in some ways than are good for me, more habituated – which restricts me, naturally, from acting 5 again.
If there is a page I want to write on it, if there is a wall I want to paint it. If there is a time, I want to live it. If there is a place I want to own it.
Who we are, what we attempt is no accident. It is deliberate, decisive and creative. Or it is nothing. It is so easy – at any age – to put our creative horses out to pasture and say we have nothing left, we are spent, used up and tired. We’ve all had that kind of a Wednesday from time to time, but some people feel that way every day. My recipe is – ‘get over yourself’. You are only as good as you try to be.
“Do of do not … there is no try.” - Yoda
There is no try, unless we describe our failings and failures.
But when we describe what we do, what we’ve done and what we are doing – when we do, every day is victory.
Every day can be the first of day something.
So too, tomorrow will be.
I am in complete control of me.
You are in complete control of you.
The rest … what Yoda said.
What feeds your creativity?
If you know someone who needs a boost, buy them crayons and point them to any wall at all, and don’t be afraid to join in.
P.S.: did you see the awesome TED talk by Chris Hadfield? Canada’s astronaut extraordinaire talks candidly about fear, about danger, and how to measure the difference.
column written/ published from Calgary
morning walk: -1C / 30F, light snow and dodgy footing. Gusta wanted to go as slow as me for a change – in part to roll in the fresh stuff and because she couldn’t find her footing any better than me!
Great piece today, Mark, RH, Calgary, AB ..p.s. I have purposefully not commented or responded previously to give you space, which required some restraint.
I am so sorry that I have been so caught up in this new life I have begun in the black panther territory of the Piney Woods of Texas that I missed your pain. I am so much more sorry for the loss of your Dad. Two weeks I believe I read in yesterday's musing. You are moving through the denial phase of grieving the loss of a loved one. Although it has probably sunk in painfully as well as the permanence of his not being there anymore. It is a growth process, at least it was for me, and growth is often painful. The memories are what will keep him alive in your heart; his wisdom, his beauty, his voice, his smell, his jacket, his words that inspired you, special moments you two shared, the love you had for each other, the respect you reserved especially for him and his DNA (like father, like son). These are the things that no one or thing can take from you. Keep these treasures close to your heart always!, GW, Bon Wier, TX