Inching Toward Simplicity: Pragmatics and Prose

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Creative Juices


  • I write a lot about the need for peace and respite—long naps, long walks, deep breaths. But there is also the equally important need for creativity: thinking creatively, doing creative things, surrounding yourself with creative people. Creativity replenishes and refreshes, and creative inspirations are often free for the asking, via Internet, the library, or your own untapped cerebral territories. Here, some links to help with the care and feeding of your creative juices.
  • -Paint like Jackson Pollock via this happy, splattery link.
    -Do you have a creative personality? See what Psychology Today has to say.

-This blogger writes about the 9 attitudes of highly creative people. In case you didn’t fit the description of creative in Psychology Today, this writer suggests that these skills can be acquired or enhanced.
-Blast is a BBC initiative that praises, supports, and has practical suggestions about creativity—visual, music, writing, and otherwise. It’s meant for older kids, but we could all use more of this!
- List Your Creative Self looks like a great book for sparking new ideas and insights.
-There’s a reason the classic books became classic. Read them for free here.
-Olga’s Online Art Museum is another creative well that can be dipped into for free.


I made a long-awaited trip to Niantic Book Barn, a book-lover’s paradise. You can trade in your old reads for cash or voucher, the voucher always worth a bit more towards a new collection of books. I chose the latter, and, as Frost would say, that has made all the difference.

I have before me quite a collection of creative people to admire and emulate. Of the six, I have only spent real time with Mary Oliver before, a Pulitzer Prize winner who made me want to write poetry again. Now I like her even more, because it turns out she writes brilliant essays, too. I’ve a passing acquaintance with James Michener and John Muir. Michener wrote a Writer’s Handbook, where he generously displays and dissects his own brilliant writing process. He wears his single-minded devotion to his work on his sleeve. John Muir had an amazing life, and The Wild Muir is a selection of some of his highest adventures, in his own words. Muir found meaning in every adversity. A bout of temporary blindness moved him away from industry, where he was very clever, back to the natural world. A malarial fever diverted his travel plans to South America. He landed in Yosemite instead, and went on to love the region feverishly and contagiously, creating Yosemite National Park, acquainting Teddy Roosevelt and the rest of our nation with its nearly wordless wonders (except he did find the words).

The remaining three authors/editors are new to me. Betty Flanders Thomson wrote The Changing Face of New England, a primer that I hope will acquaint me with the terrain through which I drive and walk daily. Robert Vivian wrote Cold Snap as Yearning, a book I bought for the title. Finally, The Writer on Her Work feels edited just for me: women writers exploring why and how they do what they do.

I don’t have as much creativity as I want these days. Work and family strains seem to drain it all away. Until the well refills again, I have these saints of innovation and originality to keep me company, maybe even get a trickle going.


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