Friday, January 20, 2012

Digressive Thoughts

Not much progress on this one.  I've been too obsessed with Take a Stitch Tuesday and embroidery to work on her.

She has a hat and hair, but she isn't moving forward.  She still has no legs, and I have no clear idea yet about who she is.
Yesterday meant another visit to the opthamologist.  Spent much of the day on the way to and from the appt. (nearly 30 min. each way since my doctor moved his office), in the waiting room, getting the exam, and waiting to get my vision back to normal.  I listened to some speakers on TED and did laundry and other chores  to pass the time that I couldn't spend stitching or reading.  I do love TED.  My favorite one from yesterday was on neuroplasticity and meditation.

This is an interesting article about creativity and the need for solitude and time without interruptions.  Group think and brainstorming may have their places, but creative activity in any area appears to benefit much more from privacy, personalized space, and lengthy periods of uninterrupted time.

Some people create under any circumstances--no matter how busy their lives may be; there are individuals who will always find time for creative endeavors, even if it is a few minutes here, a few minutes there.

Everyone, however, benefits from having periods of solitude, time to focus, to ponder, to play with ideas.  I think that is why you see people who have never had much evidence of creativity suddenly blossom after retirement.  Suddenly, they have time to pursue activities that have interested them, but that during their working lives, they have had little time to indulge.

Creativity takes so many forms: physical, emotional, mental, spiritual....

Thinking about the article brings to mind Virginia Woolf's essays/lectures A Room of One's Own, in which she ponders the importance of having one's own money and a place of privacy  in order to create.  We know that some people have managed with neither, but not having to worry about the next meal and having a place where one can work undisturbed can certainly make it easier to create.

And Thomas Grey's Elegy in a Country Churchyard, a thoughtful revery about the poor whose lives, circumscribed by poverty and work, never achieved what they might have been capable of achieving.

Perhaps in this neglected spot is laid
Some heart once pregnant with celestial fire;
Hands, that the rod of empire might have sway'd,
Or waked to ecstasy the living lyre:  

But Knowledge to their eyes her ample page,
Rich with the spoils of time, did ne'er unroll;
Chill Penury repress'd their noble rage,
And froze the genial current of the soul.

He notes, however, that not only were their virtues, but their crimes confined.  A Cromwell "guiltless of his country's blood" may also lie in the graveyard.  Possible tyrants and murderers, as well as possible poets and scientists, may be buried there.  Poverty meant that they never achieved either wonderful or terrible things.

I've digressed, but the original article kept lingering in my mind, then began spreading out to more distant connections.  For instance, the way that women found ways to create while tending to never-ending daily tasks -- like re-using fabric to make quilts, then finding ways to make these mundane articles beautiful.  Cooking and gardening and other tasks that were necessary and time-consuming, in the hands of some individuals, also became creative in unexpected ways.

The main thesis of the the original article remains valid, some sense of uninterrupted time is beneficial to the creative process.  Virginia is also correct that money and a "room of one's own" make creative endeavors easier.  But it is also true that we don't always recognize and appreciate the creativity involved in even the most basic functions of existence.

Have a great weekend, y'all!


  1. Excellent, thought-provoking post. I have long said that interruptions are the bane of [my] creativity, as I am constantly being interrupted. I used to get very irritated (I have softened). Sigh.

  2. Rian - And interruptions are not the same as pauses. An interruption can cause a loss of focus, but a pause allows ideas to form and re-form. Some people deal with interruptions better than others, but I tend to forget where I'm going (ha- that's funny since I never know where I'm going; better to say I lose the mood). :)


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