Saturday, August 11, 2012

Restless Creativity

Growing up, and honestly until about six months ago, I never thought I was creative. This is probably because I can't accurately draw a stick figure. I'm also not crafty - though I do make a mean vision board, I can't cook (well), sculpt, sew, knit, do origami, or produce any other  physical item. I also don't play an instrument well or write music or anything like this. I used to have a good singing voice, though I'm not sure that singing the solo in the 7th grade Christmas concert counts as creative.  It always frustrated me that I was so left-brained. Don't get me wrong, I love my ability to analyze and organize, my mathematical ability, and my interest in physical sciences. I just always felt that my brain was so completely lopsided that I was missing something.

Ever since I was a kid, I've had a crazy imagination. My particular imagination, though, never seemed to serve much purpose. I mean, it's fun to look at someone walking along the street and make up a whole back story about them that you share with your friends for a laugh (honestly, I do this - I could write a novel in my head about people I see while sitting at a cafe with my coffee). Really, though, where does that get you? It's fun, but it's not particularly fulfilling, unless of course it's a really attractive man that you decide is single, interesting, and interested. I'm kidding. Kind of. In all seriousness though, I always thought my imagination was a distraction more than anything.

A few months ago, something began to shift. I started to feel restless. I began experiencing this strong desire to release my creativity and imagination. The restlessness came from not knowing how. Blogging does help. It allows me to delve into my brain and bring forth what I'm thinking without concern for meeting others' image of me. Allowing myself to honestly view my own brain, I've realized I'm even more "off beat" and imaginative than I thought I was. I'll be honest - I've also learned that I don't mind this at all. It turns out that, while I'm still ridiculously organized and scientific, I'm not so lopsidedly left-brained after all. I've somehow squelched this imagination and creativity all the this time. Still, frustration comes from the inability to use any physically artistic or creative methods as an outlet. It's like a jumbled mess in there when it comes to this other side of my brain. I know something really creative, imaginative, and probably downright weird is lurking in there. I just have no idea what it is.

I'm on a mission to discover this. I sometimes wonder if I'm still a little afraid to express it for fear of being even more "different" than I already am, and this is what is subconsciously holding it back - my condition is already odd enough to explain. I think, however, that shell is starting to crumble, which feels like a very good thing. Maybe it's confidence-related. As my confidence grows, I am able to tap into this imagination more, and when I'm ready, I'll know how to express it outwardly. At least I hope so.

Several people have suggested a couple of books that I plan to purchase when my "to read" stack has diminished slightly. Others have suggested mind-mapping, an idea which I love and need to do. Do you have any other suggestions or experiences? I'd be thrilled to hear them!


  1. Creativity doesn't always produce a tangible product. For example, look at the life you have created! I think it is more about how you perceive and interpret - both the internal and the external. But, I do think that you would really enjoying cultivating a creative skill outside of writing. It is a good chance to get out of your head. How about dance? I would love to talk with you about this as I have been on a creative mission for the past few months myself. I have LOTS to say.

    1. Exactly! Let's chat! That is what I'm tying to figure out is how to create without a tabgible product. Or rather how to express it. I'm at a conference but on email so we can either chat that way or chat in the phone when I get back. Thanks for the support and suggestions!

  2. Maya, for Father's Day Melissa sent me a book called The Artist's Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity. I've been reading it and, though you have to take her orientation with a grain of salt, I think that you would really like it. First because it is organized in a way that I think you would appreciate based on how you like to work and second because even if you don't find everything applicable to you, there are enough ideas in the weekly program and exercises, that it gives you something to think about as a starting point. (The author is Julia Cameron.)

  3. Wow that sounds great! I will have to check it out. A few other people have sent me suggestions as well. I have to whittle down my "to read" list I think before I take more books on, but I really want to get some on creativity.