I can follow a knitting pattern. I can recreate a recipe. When I write, I can write a good review, deliver good reportage, or perhaps offer up commentary. But, one of my greatest disappointments, and frankly, what feels like a cruel joke sometimes, is that I cannot design my own pattern, invent my own recipe, or write a poem or short story. Is it lack of imagination? Insight? When it comes to creation – the actual act of creating something from scratch, I hit a wall. I can imitate, replicate, interpret, but I cannot make art.
I’ve been reading Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love. I’m not going to bother to review it – at this point, I’m a little late to that game. But, let me tell you something I’ve taken away from it. I’m not really interested in going on a spiritual journey that leads to a newfound relationship with a superior being – but I respected her journey. To me, her journey was really a process of moving from heartbreak to heartful – and doing so by seeing the world in a very different way. A very creative way. For instance, when she finally lets go of the weight of what her marriage was, she envisions her and her ex as two blue souls, released from their bodies, coming together in wisdom, and she knew that if she ever again felt the negativity associated with her exhusband and their divorce, she would just send those thoughts up to the care of the two blue souls. And, I thought about that visualization, as an exercise, not as she felt, something spiritual, and I thought how lovely it was.
And what I learned is that there is no need to be frustrated, to feel I have been delivered a cruel blow by the universe that I may never design a garment, or create a new, inspiring pasta dish, or write a novel. What I need to do is redefine creativity in a meaningful way, instead of taking the lazy way out, and just saying “I can’t.” The act of defining is creating. Creativity for me, must be a way of seeing things, and a way of communicating what I see from a different perspective, through a newfound eye. I need to accept that interpretation is creativity, it’s not cheating, and that living creatively can be an art in and of itself. In the end, I just want to be doing something that makes me happy, and it makes me very happy to watch lace develop on my needles, even if it’s someone else pattern. It makes me happy to take a photograph, even if it won’t end up in a portfolio or someone else’s wall.
And that is what I have been doing lately, with my camera – my images make me happy. Elizabeth Gilbert talks alot about meditation, and stillness. And when I take a photograph, I feel that stillness, even if the subject is moving -in that moment, it’s just me, the camera, the subject, and the act of making that subject still.
And, over the next few weeks, I’ll be getting a little help in my creative journeying. I’ll be participating in Madeline Bea’s Creativity Boot Camp –
Today is the first day of Boot Camp – and today’s random word prompt is “Ivory.”
A chance to visit with my wedding dress.
I pulled my dress out of Joe’s closet, unzipped the bag, and set it in front of the window.
I was so nervous when I put this dress on, on the day of our wedding.
The dress was shaking.
And now, it’s still.