In the midst of decorating Christmas cookies, Sweet Baby asked her dad to help. While watching him make brown frosting to decorate a horse shape and add a single sprinkle to be an eye, she encouraged him, saying, “you are being very create-ful!”
The new year brings hopes and resolutions about being more of just that, and this year a gift from my friend who paints in the woods aided the thinking. She sent Austin Kleon’s book “Keep Going: 10 Ways to Keep Creative in Good Times and Bad,” a favorite she said, and a little treasure.
We know his 10 points, but reading the reminders in a new form inspired me: finish each day and be done with it, pay attention to what you pay attention to, go for a walk! Kleon would be the first to admit no news here, but his little volume refreshes our thinking.
During the weeks of blog break when considering its future, I read a John McPhee article where he writes of an “old man project,” something without a fixed end but engrossing (he’s 88 and beginning to revisit story ideas that didn’t see print). “Her spirits rose…” might be just that sort of endeavor – endless, no reason to do it, no reason to stop. I could go on for as long as I want or can – observing my surroundings, making note of things that inspire and seem important, and, getting a response if I strike a chord. Such an opportunity!
Another Kleon suggestion for keeping going is to make gifts, “making gifts puts us in touch with our gifts.”
Or our shortcomings!
I experienced this before Christmas when I set out to make a cloak for Sweet Baby, from a long-hoarded dark green velvet remnant. The soft fabric suggested a garment in keeping with the moments when a small princess needs a cloak with a hood! (No luck with that – not enough yardage.)
As muscle memory threaded my machine and filled the bobbin, I became engaged in the sewing – tedious and frustrating – but also engrossing and rewarding. I had plenty of time to be create-ful (adapting to the fabric shortage), and, allow my mind to wander to other possibilities!
I love this post. In that way in which one thing follows another, you proved all the reasons why we create, and you demonstrated how to do it. I’m glad for your take on the blog being both freedom and opportunity. And I do think that cloak is pretty wonderful. Lucky girl to have it and you.
Thank you for thoughtfulness itself.
I do love your posts, and hope you keep at it as long as it is a pleasure and not a chore or a bore for you. We do winnow down as we age. But your creativity does NOT seem to be waning in the least. Your story about the cape made me recall one I made for Helen’s Samantha doll some 23 years ago. It was great fun, with satiny fabric and a fur ruff, but did not quite fit the doll right. Capes are harder than it seems they should be, yes?
Yes – I think they are! And now I notice capes everywhere. More coming! I do think we winnow down- choosing where to direct energy if we are lucky, but things never seem right with the world for me (not that things are right with the world at this moment) if there isn’t a project or post in the back of my mind. Thank you so much for your kind words – readers like you make this project very rewarding.
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