The Philosophy of Creative Writing (3)
Creative expression has always been at war with boredom and unhappiness ever since the days of the cave drawings. It reduces stress, ill health, and depression when we’re busy doing something we love.
Anyone can make the invisible visible. Draw a picture. Doodle. Scribble as if you were a child. Just assembling magazine pictures, and photographs into collages make a great pastime. You don’t have to be happy to want to create. Even our pain and grief can be turned into fine art; poetry and prose that can make us smile. When we smile, we feel good. Those who witness our efforts and our smiles feel good, too. See how contagious a creative thought or smile can be.
I will admit when artful thoughts and ideas begin careening at full speed in our mind, they are seldom finished products. They need our involvement. Each creative thought must be painstakingly revised, given shape, put aside and worked on again and again. I even tried many ways of engaging and seducing the perfect thoughts for the perfect writing. I tried meditation. I tried soft music. I tried herbal baths and incense. I read poetry books making them my friends. I even borrowed their metaphors, almost apologetically, to call my own. I also joined a spa for exercising which helped refresh and revitalize my mind and body. Lastly, I tried chewing gum as some scientists say it supposedly led to an increase in hemoglobin in human brain tissue, improving mental functions. I typed faster and more accurately when my mouth was busy chewing!
There are many rituals or exercises we can do to heighten our senses and inspire us to be artful. One exercise I enjoy doing is just sitting quietly for thirty seconds or so just doodling or scribbling on a piece of paper in front of me. Sometimes my hand goes back and forth like a hummingbird looking for a place to land. Sometimes I even do this in the Paint file on the computer. My mouse is moving around and around erratically as if chased by a one-eyed cat. Try it yourself. Try not to over-think it. Let your hand make erratic stops and starts. Maybe, use your non-dominant hand. Consider your hands enchanted.
As we all wear our feelings inside out, try to smile. There are no mistakes when doodling and scribbling our heart’s desires. Don’t worry. We are not our mistakes. Shut out all thoughts of I can’t. I will do it wrong. It has taken me much autobiography to shut out all thoughts of “I can’t!” Spontaneity is a small indulgence for a frugal woman who is still learning to unleash her inner artist.
Once after doing this exercise, I unexpectedly found nested among my erratic scribbling, what looked like an image of an old familiar perfume bottle. I remembered it as my mom’s favorite. It was called Tabu. Imaginary bittersweet smells of Tabu enveloped me the rest of that day. I could almost feel my mom praising my efforts, wrapping her arms around me. I needed to remind my mom did not just go off to some dark and distant place when she passed months earlier. She still had a presence. This is the blessing of irony and serendipity when it gladdens our days with unexpected paranormal gifts with beneficial consequences. This is your inner artist who wants to talk to you. Look for his messages.
Make yourself a plan to feel good on rainy or open-ended days by stocking up on things you are interested in like paper, crayons or watercolors. Also, stock up on ingredients for brownies, Jell-O or fudge. Who says you can’t eat art? Needlework like crocheting or knitting can be fun to those who enjoy numbers. You can pick up some self-help or instruction books that encourage and teach as well as entertain. Keeping art books on a handy display is also a good idea. You will be amazed at just how much they soak in. Stretch your mind. Try to use ordinary items in unexpected ways. Remember it is not about having all the right things but experimenting with what you do have. Just like kids, we all can be masters at finding fun uses for household supplies. Not long ago, I made a three-foot-high sculpture with nothing but hot glue and wooden clothespins. It was great fun and accredited as a unique piece by my art teacher.
Let the symbols around you choose you. Delight in them. Follow them. Listen for the ecstasy of understanding their blessings. Be playful when making them your friends. Also, take photographs that excite you. Follow your instincts for capturing nature at its best. Explore the new digital camera, and it’s convenience in sending pictures over the internet. Each day will include exploration, adventure, and amazement when taking an artful step out into the world. In every season, there are pictures of beauty around us. Even in the winter time no two snowflakes or icicles are the same. So take your camera out into the light of reality and see what you can find to photograph.
Creating something out of nothing like drawing, or even taking pictures, make us feel good. It makes those who witness our work feel good. It is that simple. Happiness does not always depend on faith, or moral virtue, still less on good fortune, though all of these may contribute to it. Happiness also comes from self-expression. Expressing ourselves in any form is an important as balanced nutrition and regular exercise. If you enjoy Mother Nature, go on a road trip and look for scenes that thrill and energize you. If you love glass and ceramics like me, you can visit ceramic shops. They will inspire and teach you to glaze pots, vases, and figures they have on shelves.
You could also take a Ceramic course or Sculpturing class at your local college like I did. There is no better and easier way to immortalize your soul than by molding clay. I learned to make my own plates, cups, and vases out of wet clay, reveling in the fact that they will be around far longer. I also fell in love with free-styling clay figures that inspired me with their mysterious beauty and fascinating.
Journaling our lives can also bring peace where there was none before. Of course, when we write about ourselves, we are the experts. Who else would know our secret thoughts, hopes, and dreams? When digging around in our memories for something to write about, I remember mom and pops telling me stories since I was a child. One of my favorites was when I was a toddler. They told me I often threw my glass baby bottles at the newly invented television pops so proudly brought home for us. It wouldn’t stop talking, and I was jealous of all the attention it was getting.
My bottles-turned-missiles were always aimed at the glass-screen. Well, pops weaned me right away by throwing my baby bottles out the door in anger. I learned that the change-of-attitude could be a good thing. When I cried for my bottle, Pops gave me a cool bottle of Coke. It fits my hands so much better, and I laughed when it tickled my nose and slide down my belly so smoothly. The television became my companionship, education, and entertainment for many years to come. I grew to be an impassioned sponge-like gal who loved to express herself visually. I will confess all that I have done is not golden. However, it feels golden to please my inner child and me.