If you are an aspiring artist, writer or mother, you'll love Lea. She's brilliant. Today, she's sharing a creative way to be creative:
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Creativity and Crayons
Everybody has, somewhere in their mind or their soul or whatever it is that makes us who we are, a spark of something unique. And not just, “I’m different from everyone else,” unique, not just, “I have my own special skills and talents,” unique, but truly, fundamentally, one of a kind.
Something deeper than a signature style or a secret ingredient in your world famous marinara sauce recipe.
And it’s that something, that truly personal something that everyone fundamentally possesses, that I believe is what produces creativity.
Creativity isn’t about doing something that nobody else has done before. It’s about doing something that makes other people stop and think, that makes their deepest, most personal specialness pop its head up and say, “Hey! THAT was SOMETHING!”
Take the painting, “The Old Guitarist,” by Pablo Picasso. We’ve all seen a man with a guitar before. But there’s something about this one, something about what Picasso saw that makes us see something MORE than just a man with a guitar. We see art.
Creativity can express itself in words, in images, in sound, in flavor, in sensation… in any form of expression. The trick is finding a way to let it out.
As an artist, and a writer, and a chef, I find myself constantly in need of tools to let my creativity out of the box. Fortunately, creativity (like all eternally young things) loves to learn. So I give myself little challenges.
With cooking, I pick an ingredient a la Iron Chef and go to town.
With art, I like to pick a few tubes of paint and just see where they take me.
With writing, flexing my creative muscles is the most difficult. That is why I firmly believe in two things- writing prompts, and haiku.
Are you familiar
With the form of the haiku?
Five, seven, and five.
The thing is, haikus are really hard. Not only because of the limits of the structure (which are seriously rigid) but because… what do you want to say in seventeen syllables?
That’s where tool number two comes in… the prompts.
This year, my set of prompts has been very simple: a box of 64 crayons. Crayons are great. First of all, they’re writing utensils. Which means, you can use them to write your daily haiku. But more than that, they have names. Interesting, evocative names. Names like, “Wood Rose,” and “Bittersweet.”
So every day, I pick a crayon and I use it to write a haiku. Sometimes inspired by the name, sometimes by the color, sometimes by an association I have with the name or color. Sometimes I keep it to a haiku, sometimes the color inspires something different. But if every day I write at least seventeen syllables, at least a few times a year I write something really good.
Sun kissed and dimpled
dark eyes facing the horizon
laughter in your mouth
You can use more than crayons. A few years ago, I would flip to a random page in the dictionary, pick a word at random, and use that. It’s not about what inspires you to create something, it’s about doing it every single day. Keeping that creative muscle ready.
Because someday, you WILL be inspired. By something random and beautiful or terrifying or overwhelmingly important. And your ability to take a simple idea and turn it into art will be fine tuned, prepared.
You’ll be ready to create something worth all of the time and effort. You’ll be ready to take that tiny spark of inspiration and turn it into something that doesn’t only hold meaning for yourself, but for the deep, personal spark of creativity inside of other people.
You’ll be ready to paint your Old Man, or caramelize the perfect crème brúlee, or write a heartbreaking work of staggering genius.
You’ll be able to create something worth remembering. And after all, that’s all we creative types really want. To be remembered for doing something new and wonderful, for making something out of nothing and having it touch somebody’s heart and soul.
All we want is the immortality of great art.
P.S. Want to add your voice to the discussion on creativity? E-mail me at hannahmoore2007 at hotmail dot com.