October 8, 2015

I have been wondering a lot lately about creativity. I am spending several hours a day writing essays about incredible origami artists, using my own creativity as a writer to attempt to capture the essence of their work in just over 1,000 words. Of course, images will accompany the text so that their creativity will be clear for all to see however successful my words are. During this ongoing writing process, I notice that on some days the words and ideas flow smoothly as if a tap has been turned on in my mind, while on other days (quite a few, unfortunately), there seems to be something lodged inside the tap jamming the passageway so that nothing of any value can escape. Then quite often lately, I might be feeling satisfied with my writing for the book and have been ready for a rest, but then I realize I still have to write my blog. On those days, as I sit back down in front of my computer, neck and shoulders aching and head feeling very blank, I ask myself where I’m supposed to find more creativity today. Where does it come from in the first place? Do we have a finite supply of it? Does it appear in cycles? And how are we supposed to find it again if we lose it?

The other day, I caught a snippet of the TED Radio Hour on NPR about the singer-songwriter Sting, who, after many outstandingly productive years as a songwriter had been unable to write a song for over 8 years. He found himself asking similar questions about creativity, and was wondering if he had said all he had to say. But, a couple of years ago, he found his muse again in the town that he’d grown up in and very deliberately left far behind. He started remembering the people from his hometown near Newcastle in northern England, and the songs came spewing out of him, resulting in a new album, The Last Ship, and a musical of the same name. Watching Sting’s TED Talk about the experience this evening, I was very moved and inspired to see someone as globally successful as Sting admitting very publicly to having dried up creatively and being worried about having nothing more to say. It reassured me that creativity is a force many successful people struggle with, a capricious companion who sometimes walks by your side but often runs off and hides in the bushes as you call out her name in desperation.

1999_sting_brand_new_day

This evening I went out for a walk in the darkening evening. I stopped by the Chandelier Tree and left a CD, Sting’s Brand New Day, at the foot of the tree. I still enjoy Sting’s music and respect him even more than ever for his human-ness, but for the sake of my own creativity, I gave away his songs tonight. By the end of my 30-minute walk, the CD was gone – maybe to someone else looking for their missing muse…

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