Nothing inspires quite like nature. Admittedly, I’m usually inspired to slather on sunscreen and run from the bugs, but on those rare occasions when I can wander a cultivated garden it is pure bliss.
The Botanical Gardens nearest my home are a wonderful sample of what Paradise could be. Within a few minutes among the roses, hostas, and iris, the tension subsides, making room for creativity to flow. I may not be much good as an outdoors-woman, but I’m excellent at appreciating its beauty!
Here is a haiku triplet I wrote on one such visit:
A water’s whisper
bids me stay, and learn how
to still the rushing.
The path that winds back
upon itself lets each one meet
again, but newly.
Raindrops make ripples;
softened pebbles from the sky,
their presence soon forgot.
How are you inspired by nature?
We have a small group (I mean a really small group) that meets the first Wednesday of the month to talk writing and works in progress and generally encourage one another. My kids and a few friends have their own meeting going on at the same time, and we all look forward to it. The rules are that there are no rules. No minutes to be taken. No bylaws to follow. You don’t have to produce any actual writing. It’s great! Kind of the Anti-Writing Group Group.
With all the pressure taken off to BE SOMEBODY, we relax, eat pastries, and eventually get around to discussing writing. We generally depart with a shrug and smile that “maybe next time” we’ll have an actual writing discussion and get inspired to move forward on our projects.
The funny thing is, there’s a sneaky kind of inspiration happening here. Looking back over my journals, that night or the next day or two, I usually write something that isn’t half bad. At least, it’s still on the paper in my notebook and not crumpled in the garbage can.
It seems that getting nothing done is quite productive. Taking one’s nose off the grindstone for an hour or two actually increases your enthusiasm to get back to it. Maybe I’m not working on great works of art or making any headway with the next book, but some interesting word-y things are happening that are worthwhile.
And that means Wednesday Writers is a success. At least for me. Like poking your head in a Montessori classroom, it looks like everybody is just messing around in there, but what you are really seeing is creativity being born.
I hope you have – or find – or create – your own version of Wednesday Writers. Without rules or expectations, and just get back to the fun of being with like-minded people. You may be surprised at what sneaks up on you.
The April Blogging from A to Z Challenge continues!
C is for CREATIVITY
Creativity is a gift, a given, right? So why do we need to teach it in the classroom?
In a recent article on “Cultivating Creativity in the Classroom” from Psychology Today, Michael Hogan, PhD, gathers arguments from creativity experts that inform us how students are losing their creativity through standardized testing and mandated procedures. It’s the scientific version of a recent post here, where comic genius John Cleese speaks to adults on regaining their creative talents (it’s a great video – go ahead, click and watch it right now. You can come back).
While I won’t get into the debate about whether, or how much, students are losing their creative gifts (you can read the research as well as I can), I will share this little tidbit from Dr. Jane Piirto. She urges everyone to think about boosting their creativity in a very physical way – The Princess and the Pea method.
The Princess and the Pea
Remember how annoying that little pea was to the delicate skin of the princess? In Piirto’s exercise, students write down five acts which constitute personal risk-taking upon which they vow to act. This paper is then folded into a ‘pea’ and placed on the person (in one’s shoe or bra) as a constant reminder to take those avowed risks.
Now, it’s your turn. What 5 acts of risk-taking – of CREATIVITY – can you think of? Write them down, fold the paper, and put it in a…um, uncomfortable place. You’ll be thinking about your goals a lot more frequently, I can guarantee it!
Leave a comment for me, if you please. Writing is a lonely business.
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