courage to create

Today I’m taking inspiration from my husband, Kyle, who posted a collection of notes and reactions to Twyla Tharp’s book The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life.

I’ve never linked creativity to risk, but tonight it makes sense to me that taking risks may help me live more creatively.  It’s fear that keeps me from living life more creatively and passionately.

This year and probably next, we’re living in a rental house.  But if we ever end up in home we own again, I want to create an art wall.  I’m not talking about a wall where artwork is hung.  I want take a whole wall of our house, and let it be turned into whatever the members of our family want it to be turned into.  Everyone can and should contribute to the masterpiece.  Old things can be covered up (though I’d like to take pictures of the wall — maybe every night — to help me remember how the wall used to be), and any art medium can be used, including the writing of text and the posting of photographs.  Hopefully the wall would always be an artistic representation of what our family looks like at that moment.  It would be a way to relieve frustrations, celebrate joy, and commune as a family.

But it’s risky, you know?  It would mean you’d have to give up the idea that your house can look like a decorator’s dream.  Beige paint, begone!  And then you’d have to admit to yourself that it’s okay if the wall isn’t pretty.  And you’d have to be okay with visitors seeing all your struggles and ideas splashed up against the wall.  Yeah, it’s risky.  It’s scary.  But just think:  isn’t it scary to think that whatever beauty that could be expressed on that wall may never have a chance to be released unless it has a canvas?

A few weeks ago, a friend asked me if I had ever heard of relactation.  I hadn’t.  But I went home and scoured the internet for all the information I could find about it.  I discovered that I could train my stagnant breasts to produce milk again.  With enough regular demand for milk, the supply could be rebuilt.  I could actually breastfeed our adopted baby!  Though the process of training a baby to nurse when he has only been bottlefed may turn out to be grueling, the opportunity for bonding through breastfeeding is invaluable.  I imagine this is a little crazy to some people.  But even if I face failure, how can I not try to take advantage of something so perfect?

Today on NPR’s Studio 360, green architect William McDonough spoke of the inspiration he takes from nature.  He admits that humans have pretty lame design skills:

“I reflect on the fact that it took us 5000 years to put wheels on our luggage.  So we’re not that… smart as a design species.  But if you look at a tree and think of it as a design assignment, it would be like asking you to make something that makes oxygen, sequesters carbon, fixes nitrogen, distills water, provides habitat for hundreds of species, accrues solar energy as fuel, makes complex sugars and food, changes colors with the seasons, creates micro-climates, and self-replicates.”

Yeah, my God is creative.  He’s an artsy guy.

I grasp the scrap of paper that is my hope of relactating and breastfeeding our new baby.  It’s a small innovation, a small hope, a humble dream.  But it is my risk; it is my bit of innovation and creativity.  I’ll trudge through weeks of sitting at breast pumps and sopping up leaked milk.  I’ll remember what full, sore breasts feel like.  And I’ll take that scrap of paper and pray for it to be turned into art.  Dare I hope it could become something as complex and beautiful as… a tree?

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    • tstoller
    • November 16th, 2008

    Great Idea!

    What an awesome way of thinking outside of the box, and being expressive. It is your house, who cares what others may think about it.

    Reminds me of a mural I wanted to have painted upon a wall of a house that I was going to buy years back, sort of as motivation to pursue a dream.

    It is only when we take risk do we enjoy the dividends that are eventually paid for stepping out and pursuing our dreams.

  1. “Yeah, my God is creative. He’s an artsy guy.”

    Amen!

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