Editor's Notebook

Creativity just needs some room to bloom

| August 2008

In my childhood home, three signs heralded summer: The frogs began to peep in the levees in our neighborhood; someone got a killer case of chiggers before he or she realized the red bugs were back; my mother began making shorts and halter tops.

Mother's creativity took many forms - her music, her cooking, her nightmare scenarios for what could happen if we wandered beyond our neighborhood. But the one I think she might have enjoyed most was sewing. Now that I'm all grown up, I imagine it was because being shut up in her sewing room was one of the few times she could be alone and focus on exactly what she wanted to do.

She didn't scream to be left alone, she simply made it clear that interfering when she was sewing would result in immediate retaliation in the form of chores, such as scrubbing the bathroom grout with a toothbrush or washing the gunk out of the kitchen trash can. We almost always found things to do that didn't separate Mother from her sewing.

One of the truths that I've come to believe as an adult is that creativity requires a bit of selfishness - at least what we might interpret as selfishness. We need that ability Mom demonstrated of being able to tell the rest of the world to take a hike while we focus on the task at hand - whether it's writing a song, sewing matching shorts and tops for a couple of wriggly girls, or doing the extra flourishes that turn a simple meal into a beautiful offering to those we love. Art takes time, and one of the greatest gifts we can give each other (and ourselves) is the time and space to come up with our own stuff. Once we peel away all the fancy language, isn't that what creativity is all about?

I think the creative impulse is always present, seeking expression. Being creative mostly means being spacious enough to give creativity the tools and time it needs, and then notice with enthusiasm where it's made its mark.

We hope you enjoy our readers' stories of their own creativity as much as we did this month. And an enormous thanks to all of you who took the time to answer our survey in last month's issue. That feedback will go a long way in giving us what we need to create a better and better CAPPER'S for your reading pleasure.

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