If PiBoIdMo has taught me anything (and truly, it has taught me a lot), but if I HAD to narrow it down to one thing, I would say it has reminded me of the importance of living a creative life. It is so tempting to follow the straightest distance between two points all the time. It's more efficient. It's 'smarter' most people would say. But living a creative life isn't about the most efficient way of getting things done, it's about the process. Creative living is savoring the steps, the movement, even the struggles that take you to the end point. What's so great about the end of anything, anyway? Why do we rush to finish things? If we're so anxious to finish something, why are we even doing it????
Okay, we have to do things like mop our floors and clean our bathrooms and sort laundry. There is some level of creativity that can be applied, but for the most part, we do just get it done. But such tasks should be the exceptions in our lives because there is an adventure in every thing. We just have to look for it or possibly even create it, but it makes the journey such a joy.
I'm reading a beautiful, beautiful book by Anne Ursu called BREADCRUMBS. The protagonist is such a creative, inventive soul. She sees the world and all its magic in such a special way, but the story heightens the juxtaposition of her stark reality and the creativity she longs for. The conflict is so evident in every painful moment of her day. Let's not be like that.
Thank goodness we're grown-ups and in our maturity and experience, we can choose the way we approach things.
Over the past month, I've become a better listener. One might even say eavesdropper because I really do overhear the darndest things, especially from children. And it's hilarious and delightful to see things from that perspective. Like my eight-year-old son's pronouncement, "Why would anyone want to go to a school called Yale? It sounds like a fish. If you can pick any school, go to a school with a good name. A cool name. Like Princeton. Then it's like you're the royal family because of the "Prince"--get it?" Yes, I got it. And I've chuckled about it for days. That's bound to appear in a book.
Over the past month, I've become a better observer. One might even say I stare more because more than ever, I have begun to notice the physical aberrations in the natural world. The one little leaf that refuses to fall off the tree. The raindrop that pools on the top of my car antennae. The squirrels who prefer one person's yard over another, and the cats who congregate on the corner by the church. I hear the birds calling to one another in the early morning and how the sound escalates just before the rain. The clouds move at a fantastic speed in the early morning, just as the sun rises. A deer walking down the sidewalk at the beach. There's a story in everything and I've learned to look for it and play it out in my head. Go with it. Be creative. Have fun with it. It may amount to nothing, it will probably amount to nothing, but enjoy the process.
So today, I challenge you to choose the creative life. Rather than complaining in your head about the obnoxious person slowing down the grocery line, tell yourself his story. Instead of admiring clothes in a catalog (clothes you probably don't need), ask yourself what kind of character would wear those clothes and in what setting would these clothes be grossly out of place. Wonder about things. Ask what if. Create backstories for everything and everyone. And make something special because of your unique touch whether it's an imaginative dinner or the way you place the clean towels on the racks. Wander a bit. Take the long way home. Ask your kids a crazy question and wait for their answers.
Shake things up, and I dare say, you will rediscover the sheer delight of simply living in this world. Then, and only then, will you begin to create your own special and unique contributions to the world.
My Mission Statement
I write to serve, to unite, to educate. I write to share literature and flesh out ideas that may be of interest to others. I write to document an emotion, experience, or a blip in time. My mission is to write in such a way that the reader is reminded that we can find humor in all situations. It's one of the great blessings of life.