I’ve been mulling over my lack of creativity lately. It bothers me in a way that I can’t quite articulate. Yes, there is the usual frustration. There is doubt. But I think the worst thing that keeps going around in my head is that I might be tapped out. And I no sooner think that way then my brain latches onto something creative and I’m off to the races.
It used to be that I had plenty of time to spend in creative thought. And I mean that specifically to differentiate it from logical thought. In logical thought I can multi-task while doing it. There are rules and structure and it’s not terribly hard. But creative thought requires my entire mind and if interrupted, I lose the thread. It’s like daydreaming except that I am consciously pushing in a direction to see where my stream of consciousness will go. For instance, I will think to myself, “What if….” and then I just let my mind go. I must appear rather strange to those around me. My face is probably pretty blank, my gaze unfocused, my ears are closed…a sort of fugue state. I only hear my own internal voice relaying ideas and images. Sometimes the thought will go down a dead end, so my mind will backtrack and start on a new line of inquiry. I always come away from it with a new idea, mainly for the fictional book I am writing.
Sometimes ideas come to me in dreams. I woke up the other night with a very clear idea on how to add conflict and interest to the story (won’t reveal it here because I am a tease like that). 🙂 Dreaming creative ideas happens a lot more now than it used to. I think it is because I have so little uninterrupted time for reverie in my life. Work requires my full attention–that’s the nature of programming, at least for me. Computer programming to me is simply problem solving. Unfortunately, once I’ve figured out how to solve a problem in my head or on paper, I lose interest in making it a reality on a computer. But that’s what they pay me for–not just the solution but the app that provides the solution. My private life, well that requires my full attention too. Ever ignore a toddler for more than a minute? You end up with a Tonka truck stuck in the toilet, the toilet paper roll completely unrolled and congealing into a thick paste in the water that would then be overflowing from said toilet (just as an example). I do have time at night, when I’m just completely done in physically. Most nights my brain wants to keep going while my body cries out for sleep. And I’ve been giving in to my body’s needs because I know how that leads only to dark, low places of illness and suffering.
Ultimately though, I will have days where I’m not much good for anything practical. I think it’s when my creative tank becomes so full that it becomes insistent, pushing against my oh-so conscious, logical world. That’s where my brain is at today. I’m trying like crazy to focus on some code but all I can really think about is a piece of art that needs some adjustment to be truly finished and just right. Below are two photos of it–the first is the entire thing (sorry so blurry, stupid cheap cell phone camera) and the other is a detail shot so you can see what the panels look like). It is a series of stained wooden panels with molded metal sheets attached to them and the panels attached to one another with copper wire.
It feels unfinished to me and the copper wire connection idea isn’t working the way it should (or at least, the way I want it to look, which I can see in my head). So that’s where I am at today while a million more practical things are interrupting my creative bliss. I envy those who get to spend their lives in purely creative endeavors (I know these people exist, I see them on the Intertubes sometimes). This is where I stop before I go into my maudlin “the road not taken” spiel.