Friday, October 02, 2009

Creativity is Healthy Fun!

I've been thinking about how much creativity surrounds us as kids and how much we embrace it growing up. We not only color with crayons, but we melt them in the driveway to see what happens.

But as the older us appears, these experiments become lost in the world of jobs and mortgages. We are no longer the demon girl in braids and bows with our box of crayolas, but the ice prince or princess in our four-door sedan with our pennies, dimes, and nickels sorted out in our change holder.

This summer, I did a lot of physical outside stuff-- mountain biking, camping, hiking, gardening, kayaking, flipping over while kayaking, swimming--and it's been harder to get back into writing this fall. I think this happens with our creativity as we grow up, we forget to use it. We begin to buy what's in-style to fit in. We look, speak, move like the people around us. We forgot to practice our creativity, but instead life becomes about fitting in, being liked, getting a job, paying bills. Not being ourselves, but being like everyone else.

For the last 7 years, I've been on a different path and sometimes it's hard. I don't have the standard line to tell people when they ask what I do. If you ask what I do, please be ready to spend at least 5 minutes with me to go deeper, because I don't have a one sentence summary. I'm not sure I ever will.

So in certain ways, I'm very creative, but in other ways, color me vanilla. I am thinking about how to look at the world differently to find and follow my own vision of what's right. To make my own path, not follow a path. And to make sure I'm thinking for myself and not just going along with the crowd.

And this is where my writing practice comes in, when I'm not writing, I tend to lose that creative part that I value so highly. I not only don't experiment with words, but I don't experiment with life.

Writing is Healthy Fun, the ad should say. Any time of creating. We become small gods when we bring something new into the world. So today, I'm asking myself how I fit in and how I don't and to make sure my choices are intentional and not just because I wasn't paying attention. What can you notice today that you haven't before?

Here's mine--

While brushing my teeth, I realized Tartar control can be RatRat control if you read "tartar" backwards. It's small, but it made my morning routine slightly more interesting and fresh today.

What can you see differently in the world today?

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  1. I'm cracking up at RatRat. I, too, love those small moments of noticing. In that way, being creative and being mindful are so very linked.

    I had a moment that made me laugh this morning: When I asked the guy sitting next to me on the commuter train to get up so I could exit, I noticed he was reading the same book as I was (The Last Lion, about Ted Kennedy). I commented on the fact, and you would think I told him to get naked and stand up on the seat. He seemed so shocked to have a stranger talk to him. He basically just nodded and then I left. Not exactly a creative moment, but it made me laugh, and think it is a useful thing to notice people in the world as they might become characters in your work someday!

    Also, I loved this line from your post: And this is where my writing practice comes in, when I'm not writing, I tend to lose that creative part that I value so highly. I not only don't experiment with words, but I don't experiment with life.

    Hear hear!

  2. I got stuck on a recent article I read about creativity/innovation (in the Harvard Business Review, of all places!), with similar results.

    Ratrat is great.

  3. Love the RatRat discovery :)

    I made a note earlier today that I want to blog about how my opinion of seeking publication and all has drastically changed over the last year.

    I think I am mellowing.

  4. For some reason, when I read what you said about RatRat, I thought immediately of the scene in the movie "The Shining" where the little boy is going through the hallways of the hotel in a weird semi-trance state, saying "RED RUM, RED RUM..." over and over.

    I think it would have been just plain goofy if instead he had been saying "Rat Rat, Rat Rat."

    On a tangentially related topic, earlier this evening I read that when Edgar Rice Burroughs was working on the first Tarzan story, he initially called his character Zantar, but decided it didn't sound quite right. (I have to agree. Zantar sounds like the name of a vacuum cleaner salesman from the planet Zoon.)

  5. Hey there Kells,

    I love the new design of your blog . . and the new author photo! Thanks for reminding me it's important to notice what's right in front of us, including RatRat.

  6. WB- I think talking to a stranger is just as good as finding "ratrat" in your tartar control toothpaste! Life is one big experiment-- I'm amused with his reaction!

    Thanks, Linda. I like the Harvard Business Review has creativity articles! who knew?!

    Jessie- I've changed in that area too. I may have to blog about that.

    Lyle, I love that Red Rum scene, we used to freak each other out as kids saying it. I have always thought it was wonderful finding Red Rum for murder, it fits so well!

    And interesting about the Zantar name, that would have been a terrible name for him, it is too sci-fi. But I loved how he switched the letters around to find what worked.

    Marty-- Thanks for your note! My photo is because of the Artist Trust grant, of course, after I sent it in to them, I realized most people had color photos. oops. But glad you like it.

    Thanks all for the comments!


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