Wednesday, 31 August 2011

The need for creativity

Years ago, I was feeling really low and phoned my mum to have a chat. I’d got caught in a cycle of ‘things to do’, none of them what I really wanted to do. As far as I could see, there was no time for me; I had to do what needed doing. After letting me offload my woes for a while, she asked, “What have you been doing this morning?” I replied with a list of all the cleaning I’d done. Her immediate question was, “Why? Who’s coming?” When I said that no one was coming, but that the house was a mess, she asked me when I had last drawn a picture? A strange question? Not really. In that question, she had summed up my whole problem. To be happy, I need to be creative. In those days it was drawing, these days it’s drawing and writing. I went off and drew a picture and immediately felt a whole lot better.

My life has been full of ‘things to do’ lately, none of them creative and I’m beginning to feel that old woe-is-me attitude coming on. Today, for example, is my day off work, but already it’s filled with a long list of things that need doing. I’m writing this while I drink my morning coffee before I do some household ‘must dos’. Then it’s back to town again to complete ‘things to do’ there. Tonight though, so far, is free. Tonight I’m going to disappear into my office and I’m going to draw. It’s ages since I drew anything, so that’s what I’m going to do. With everything that’s been happening lately, I can’t get my head around working on my novel, but drawing is a forgiving activity. I don’t even need to know what I’m going to draw; I can just let it come out. If anything decent comes of it, I may even let you see it!

Speaking of feeling low, I once posted here about ‘Absurdity Therapy’ and how I’d used it to get over the ennui of shopping. Yesterday I had the most wonderful absurd experience without even thinking about it. I’d nipped out of work  to tick something off my list during my lunchbreak. As I drove down the hill an old, bright blue VW car came towards me. On the top was a large wooden tea tray – about four feet across, and on the top of that sat a cup cake – a huge cup cake, in a red and white striped case and with a cherry on top. That was funny enough, but I caught a glimpse of the lady driving the car and her smile was brighter than the cherry! She was obviously enjoying the reactions of those going by. Absurd. Surreal. Wonderful.


Meg McKinlay said...

I love this post, Katie. We all need more time for the absurd - that car sounds just the thing. And I am with your mother on the housecleaning, too.

Kate said...

Thanks, Meg. I think an appreciation for the absurd should be a prerequisite for anyone who works with children. As for housecleaning, it has to be the most useless, unappreciated occupation there is!

Sandra Patterson said...

I second your opinion of housework. Nobody ever lay on their deathbed thinking, I wish I'd done more dusting.

Kate said...

Ha! I'm going to remember that line forever, Sandra!