When Creativity Drops In

I was sort of on a roll yesterday—writing this book about Life-Artistry and creativity that I’m working on. It was one of those times where the words were just pouring onto the page—when my computer glitched up.

Of course, I stopped what I was writing to fix the problem, worrying about today’s meetings and my need for the computer to be in working condition.

In the meantime, my high school daughter was in the other room, and I figured she was working on homework. She had told me she had a pile full.

But I was wrong. What she was working on was a sketch. A random sketch of an eye. She brought it to me while I was in the midst of a software update and dropped it on my desk to show me.

When I looked at it this sketch, I could see the watery shine on top of the dark. It could be inspired from our walk we took that morning, where we had discovered a secret bridge that overlooked the churning creek. The water was silvery gray like the tones a charcoal pencil can make on white paper. There’s a tear in her drawing too, which I’m thinking is the real force behind this sketch—come from the sadness she was feeling about someone she loves who was crying that day. Whatever her inspiration was, it WAS. And she listened, and let it come out in the form it chose to that moment. Usually it comes out for her in a song that she sings, or a tune she picks on her guitar. Today it wasn’t. But it WAS, in its own way.

That’s how creativity is. It sneaks up on you, and asks you to join in in the swirl of discovery and emotion. It doesn’t always come in the same form and it doesn’t always come at ideal times. But it comes.

After she dropped the drawing on my desk, we went and sat together around the fireplace. She got into her homework, and I turned back to my writing. My inspiration by that time was gone. Floated off a bit disgruntled that I had so rudely turned away from it when the computer started wining. And my daughter? She finished her homework in no time.

What I know about this young person who was sitting across from me completing a psych quiz is that she really couldn’t have done her homework the way it needed to be done, until this little bit of creative energy had broken out of her. So she didn’t fight it. She just listened, and drew. And did her homework later.

It reminds me of one of my favorite books by Elizabeth Gilbert -that creativity is a separate force, called ideas, that visits us, maybe when we least expect it, like on a windy Sunday afternoon, and we have to be ready to listen, recognize it and honor it enough to go out and play with it when it calls. (She said it more eloquently than that) But the point is, it visits all of us, in different ways, in different forms. And the question is, do we see it?

This drawing of the eye…I’ll keep it near my desk. To remind me that when creativity visits me, in whatever form, it is my commitment, my duty, and my honor, to give it the time it deserves to come forth.

I’ll get to my homework later.

Thanks, Hailie. For helping me to see this again. Www.life-artistry.com

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