My back yard is a storage facility. Sounds odd, I know. But several years ago I needed a new place to live. I needed a place with some space. I had a fair amount of furniture already and wanted space, as most do, that would allow for the occasional visitor. I had been looking at apartments, but everything is so boring and unimaginative, and I like my privacy, so not a big fan of big complexes with neighbors like motel rooms. Then I found the ad.
The house is a Gothic style, added on to, farm house, with hard wood floors, three bedrooms, one of which is big enough for a photo studio, kitchen, living room, dining room, library, laundry room, and two full baths. It was cheaper than a crummy two bedroom in student housing. And interestingly, I knew an artist who owned this house over thirty-five years ago.
But I digress. This post is really about finding creativity.
We look at the same things every day. These things change ever so slightly day to day, but we are unaware because the pace is very slow. We notice change when it’s big change. Photographs reveal big change. Jumps from season to season, growth of the kids, the tree in the back, planted on your tenth birthday and now shading the whole patio and filling the gutters with leaves.
When things are familiar, we tend not to pay as much attention. Walking through the same room every day, we lose sight sometimes of the way the sun comes through the window curtain at 7:00 AM on a Sunday morning. Or just how cool the view is looking out the back door at the clouds beyond the walnut trees. We forget to look again, or from a different angle, or to just sit and enjoy what’s right before us.
I like this house. I like the storage buildings. I like the fact that it’s not boring. It has a story.
Finding creativity is like looking for your misplaced keys. It’s there, sometimes it takes a while to track it down, or just takes patience. Sometimes you have it and don’t even realize. And sometimes it just evolves out of those everyday moments and you have to run with it.
So sitting on the deck, looking out at my back yard in the afternoon sunlight, I picked up the camera. The back yard was looking pretty good.
See something you like. Then change your point of view. Like walking through a gorge looking up at the canyon walls, don’t forget to turn around and look behind you. That’s when your eye stops at the sky through the small opening in the rocks that you would never have seen if you faced only forward.
Have you ever tried to limit your looking to only parts or portions of things. Or looking only at how two things relate to each other. This sign post to that walkway. Or look at a scene based only on the way light plays on the elements. Not the objects, but the light. I believe good writers have the ability to see the intangibles right alongside the actual objects.
If we are lucky enough and create something that is surprising even to ourselves, then we have had a good day. A creative day. Even If it is only a picture in our minds, or a smile on someone’s face, or a masterpiece. Pause, look, move things around, do something differently, go someplace new, challenge your way of thinking. Then the voice inside says, “oh, there it is”.
©George Cannon – Images