Living for Joy: Recapturing Creativity

There are many days I wake up glad to be done with college. The constant flow of homework, extracurricular meetings, social commitments, etc could get extremely overwhelming at times. But there are others when I wish more than anything that I could go back for a few days. To sit in a classroom and make it my job to think and challenge my brain to understand that which I did not know.

I received the room to think, to ponder thoughts that had no meaning outside my head, to explore the possibilities of reality and philosophy, without constantly needing to tie it back to real-world application.

And that was because college was not the real world. The real world is concerned with budgets, commutes, household management (like cleaning, feeding yourself, doing laundry, uck), the continual nagging in the back of your head asking you how you will advance from the position you are in now, networking, planning for the future and still trying to live in the present — and soon enough there is no room to think. There are no moments, let alone hours, to let the mind drift away and explore.

Occasionally I look back at some of the pieces I wrote in college and I am astounded (not at my abilities, per-say, they are not above the average) but at my seeming ability to let go and have creativity take the wheel. I used to imagine worlds that were not my own! Take the time to twist the language of one sentence in order to change the meaning of a whole page! Think of a plot and be able to execute it without seeming tired by the idea. In fact, quite the opposite!

There was so much time to work at cultivating, to get from fumbling language to a flowing prose. To find the right word to finish the line of a poem. To experiment with grammar and break the rules in purposeful effectiveness.

These days, the most creative I get is reorganizing the way I store bills and tax-deductible receipts, and if I have time these days, designing a new calendar in my bullet journal to write down more of the things I need to do.

No matter how much time I may dedicate to this blog, to my journal, to the very minimal sentences of fictional worlds I try to dream up these days, I will never have that same amount of time and space as I used to.

And I know many of you may be thinking the key here is to multitask, after all, I can’t can manage that in all other aspects of my life. Why not with creativity? Why not write five sentences while doing laundry? Why not write on the metro? Take time on the weekend to put something worthy to the page.

And in truth? Creativity is not something that can be multi-tasked. She is an enigma, and we must dive in head first, without distractions (something even more difficult to do these days with our devices and constant connections). She is the essence of every artist and the lifeblood of any thinker. But she cannot be commanded. Creativity comes as her leisure. We simply need to pay enough attention to hear her calling when she comes by.

Ever since I graduated, I find it more and more difficult to listen for creativity’s call, to make time for the moments she is around. For the first two years I was out of school, I was overworked and exhausted, albeit in many ways living the best experience of my life. I blocked that wall altogether in a means to get my brain under control, so it would be ready for whatever task came each day. There was no room for wandering thoughts.

This year though, my year of living for joy, I have started this blog. I have lit the pilot light on my creative spark again. By no means is the pot of water boiling, but there is more heat from the flame than there has been since I graduated. Keeping it alive is another task in itself. You have to feed it oxygen and fuel read read read and write write write daily to keep it going. Forget to and the flames die down, bringing you back to the beginning again – the fumbling, not flowing words. The ‘what is there to write about’ not ‘this is what I will write about’.

And some days, like today, its about writing about writing. Getting in touch with your current state with words and how they relate to your mind today. Pondering what you can and thinking about the world, each person in it, and the people yet to come.

Keep wondering, always.

from my creative flame to yours,

raina

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