Monday, November 10, 2008

Creative Juices

I can't explain it.

For some reason, this past weekend, it was as if a curtain had lifted and I felt like a human being again. For weeks I've been dragging around, suffering with fall and post-hurricane sinus irritation and congestion. I've had enough energy to see my clients, teach my classes, and meet my deadlines -- but nothing more. The election and ensuing excitement provided nothing more than a temporary respite from my doldrums. And now, I'm on a tear with new projects, new ideas, and creative juices flowing again. What made the difference? I'm still trying to figure it out.

Perhaps I was uplifted by witnessing the creativity of others. One of my friends, Karine Parker, has been working for several months on a concept for providing authentic encounters between artists and the public. This past weekend, her idea, RougeArt, became a reality. A stylish gallery and art space was transformed with music, refreshments, an exhibit by four local artists, and lively conversation between the viewers and the creators, the lines blurring as they shared experiences and stories with each other. The culmination of months of planning, producing, and organizing, RougeArt was the manifestation of Something, where there had been Nothing before. Stay tuned for future appearances of RougeArt, a new experience on the Houston art scene.

Another friend, Misha Penton, has been percolating for several years on an idea to create unique performance experiences. She has studied, performed, traveled, written, and networked her little butt off. Next weekend, the result of her creativity is Divergence Vocal Theatre's premiere. Music old and new, dance, and literature combine to bring voices and people together in a way that is fresh and compelling. I can't wait to see what the production, "The Ottavia Project," will be like. Opera with an edge? Divergence Vocal Theatre is something fresh on Houston's musical landscape.

It seems that all human beings have imagination. Whether it's flights of fancy or fantasy, or just anticipating dinner at your favorite restaurant, we can generate ideas and images in our heads that can delight or terrify. However, creativity is something else again. I believe it was Sir Ken Robinson who said that it's creativity that transforms the imaginary into reality. Think of it: nearly everything we see in the physical world is an idea before it manifests in material form. The iPhone, hybrid cars, bridges, buildings, performances, websites-- all are ideas imagined, implemented by human creativity, to produce something of value.

There's no limit to creativity, and there's no limit to the number of valuable ideas. "Build a better mousetrap, and the world will beat a path to your door," as the old saying goes. For this reason, the economy can continue to grow. Something of value appears where there was Nothing before. There will always be a market for the "new and improved" version of ANYTHING. To keep improving, you need imagination and creativity.

The world's problems won't be solved just by talking, or thinking, or hoping. However, talking, thinking, and hoping can form the backdrop, the context in which ideas and positive solutions can be born. Any problem can and will be solved by ideas imagined, creatively brought into being and implemented by those who are able to work, to innovate, to cover the distance between How It Is Now and How We'd Like It To Be. It takes intention and intelligent action. The abstract must become concrete.

My practice in the Feldenkrais Method is a continuing source of inspiration, imagination, and creativity. Each movement exploration is a unique experience, engaging thought, sensation, and emotion. When I encounter a problem or obstacle, in movement, or in life, I can ask, "What ELSE could I do? How ELSE could I approach this? What would happen if. . . Through the magic of successive approximations, curiosity, and the willingness to experiment a little, it's amazing how the light bulbs go on, and choruses of "Aha!" ring out.

So here I am, writing late into the night, my creative juices flowing again. I've spent several hours today working and playing, like a mad thing, turning stalled-out abstractions into lively pixels and bits on the internet, turning words into graceful and revelatory movements, or persuasive calls to action. To experience the spark of imagination, the flow of creativity, and the satisfaction of working to birth an idea into reality, is probably about as good as it gets. My creativity, and yours, transforms the world, just a little bit at a time.

What would get your creative juices flowing again?

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Anonymous said...

Wow MaryBeth, I am inspired just reading your about your experiences. Often, just getting out of our own way opens up that fresh space. When we realize we are the catalyst AND the gatekeeper. Good for your and can't wait to see what you come up with!

Unknown said...

I think we are all tired from the election marathon. Now we have political certainty for the next four years, and the energy we used to get to this point has been returned to us. Why not be reinvented with out of the box ideas? I love the project described where the artists interact with the community that recognizes and appreciates their work. This begets a circle of positive interaction bringing new ideas to the artist and deeper understandings to the observing community. Great ideas for this fall day . Barbara

Anonymous said...

Have you ever looked at something in nature and been surprised by the shape of a heart? Discovering hearts in the wild is just one way to connect with nature or, perhaps, think about a loved one. We need only open ourselves to the possibilities and they will magically appear before our eyes.

One woman's Hearts of Nature discovery is on display at St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital in the corridor to the right of Bates Lobby. It's free!

ruthiek said...

I'm glad your are flowing again. You described exactly how I have felt for almost the last year. Maybe there is hope yet.