May 25, 2010

Better creativity through adventurous living

Madeira Beach Jan 21 2010
Weigh anchor and let's go!

You may remember that my creative goal for this quarter was to deepen my sense of my own crafty identity, specifically by designing and executing a creative project that shows off my personal creative style, regardless of whether anyone else gets it. You may also have noticed that I haven't done that yet. ;)

Why: I'm having a bit of a creative identity crisis, which I guess has been in the making since at least the beginning of the quarter, since I set goals related to it. I haven't forgotten my goals, but the more I think about Who I Am creatively, the more I remember that I love super-detailed, quirkily gigantic projects that demand a long-term commitment. That's who I am creatively: someone who likes to sink into the details and get lost in something epic, emerging on the other side of the project with a deep sense of satisfaction and a gigantic Thing to show off.

Thus, I keep trying to think of things that are big, quirky, crazy. I come up with things like the Master Knitter certification; a new costume for Dragon*Con; a big handwoven wall hanging. But nothing catches my attention and holds it. It's not that these things sound bad, or boring, or not hard enough. They just aren't engaging my creatively insane brain. I suspect I'm suffering from needing to live more to be more inspired.

I wish I could find the blog post I read a few weeks (months?) ago, on how writers need to be more than writers. To be a good writer, one must also live, experience, love, hate, succeed, fail, dream, feel. It isn't just writers who need to do this, in my opinion; it's all creative people. We all need to draw deeply and constantly on our humanity and our passions in order to express them in our creative work.

My inspiration, once upon a time, came from multiple sources: from a voracious, omnivorous consumption of science, art, film, speculative fiction, newspaper and magazine articles, history recent and ancient, classic literature, modern amateur poetry, people-watching at theme parks and malls and schools ... Once, my experiential intake was reasonably large, so I had a lot to draw from, and a lot to spit back out with my fingerprints on it. I'm no world traveler (though I've been to Indonesia twice, and that's about the extent of it), but I had enough material to work with that it worked. Once upon a time.

Other things have gotten in the way, and I haven't been doing much of any of that recently. And I'm starting to think I have a lot of research to do on the things that make me me before I can find a creative project that embodies my me-ness.

So it seems like the real challenge for me this quarter is only indirectly crafty. I need to get out the novels, the DVDs, the theme park maps, the beachy sunglasses, the sketchbooks and notebooks and books about funny headlines, the passport. I need to go and be an adventurer first, to kick-start the mental transmutation of adventures into creativity.

What adventures are you having, or have you had, that feed your creative brain? Even if you don't craft, you've done something that inspired you to tell a story or take a picture or buy a souvenir. I want to hear about the adventures you've had that help build you as a passionate person. Give me a jump-start! ;)
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