What Sparks Your Creativity?

In our writers group last month we started out with a prompt for 5 minutes of warm-up writing:

“What sparks your creativity?”

I decided not to plan a response, but to plunge in and let it flow, and this is what I wrote:

Moving in the open air, listening to the wind, watching my dog run, feeling sun on my skin, being in/on/by the ocean, river, pond, stream, swamp or puddle, watching the sky change.

When my father was ill, I spent weeks visiting him under difficult family conditions. For sanity I would escape each day to ride my bicycle. As I pedaled through the low marsh of that delta island, the water vistas would open and close on drifting swans, charming cottages draped in willow, cattail meadows filled with birds, all under the huge bowl of a sky. Often I had company: once, a flock of goldfinch burst from the weeds before me, flew ahead for a while, landed again only to repeat the drill.

After my ride words came to me, and I wrote. I expressed in the way cider is expressed from apples. And it came out intelligible, capable of communicating something moving to others.

That was the second birth of writing for me.

The first grew out of my deep and surging desire for HORSES as a young girl. I knew I couldn’t have a real one, but I could read, draw, write and play horses and I did, for every waking hour. And I found that as I played horsey playground games I wasn’t the rider so much as the horse herself, four-legged, strong, stalwart, tall and swift.

I’m seeing something about this I didn’t realize until just this moment: Movement is what feeds my creativity, especially movement in the open air, in the wild spaces.

I’ve been confusing my need for quiet, for retreat in order to create, with a kind of ‘movelessness.’ Yes, I so need the quiet pause, time at peace and alone, to hear my thoughts, and perform the physical act of writing or painting.

https://i0.wp.com/thumbs4.ebaystatic.com/d/l225/m/mRBuTkOSYD2vd7qu4LraCQg.jpgBut too often I’m stuck in a sludgy reluctance to move, especially as my body has thickened, stiffened and aged. The scary secret is, I have a lifelong fear of my body and her strong feelings. Not so much the joyous ones, but the sudden, frightening and murky dark things. The ambush of emotional memory, the sudden buckling of the overburdened knee, the regret of paths not taken: fear of pain casts too long a shadow on my life.

Now I need that horse girl to set me free.

8 thoughts on “What Sparks Your Creativity?

  1. Stillness and motion — isn’t it always the paradox of needing both sides of the coin to be creative!? Nice post, Patrise.

  2. Wonderful. I was right there with you. You can have movement and quiet all at the same time. You’re o the right track Some never shut up for fear they will heard themselves. Brava to you.

  3. You go, horse girl! Ride ’em cowgirl!

  4. Patrise, this is/was a truly beautiful expression! XXX Joan

    On Fri, Jan 3, 2014 at 12:18 PM, Art, Spirit, Nature wrote:

    > PatriseArts posted: “In our writers group last month we started out > with a prompt for 5 minutes of warm-up writing: What sparks your > creativity? I decided not to plan a response, but to plunge in and let it > flow, and this is wh

  5. Patrise, this is lovely. As I read, I felt like I could see that picture moving along with your writing; what an amazing effect!

  6. Beautiful post, and beautiful writing, Patrise. It amazes me how much can be written and realized with a 5-minute writing prompt. I hope you are finding time in the new year for movement and stillness.

  7. Getting back on the horse is a wondrous action. For some, such as you, methinks you’ve never been de-saddled. Evident to me is that riding the road alongside you has ever been a Muse or two. The darker moments are sourced from OUTSIDE you, when said Muses were distracted by noisome trailside nettles…

    Transfering metaphors, wresting back control of the reins, to diminish detours and detractions, is what your pen/keyboard/brush is apt at. May your parchment/screen/canvas ever let your movement flow, your shadows to dissolve.

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