Lately, I have been pondering the creative process and creativity. It is one of the characteristics listed on my "An Ideal Husband?" Pinterest board under Don Draper's picture. To note, many (all?) of his other characteristics do not make my list. I myself have been labled creative or "artsy" which I always find ironic since I have a Masters in Science. Then I thought science is absolutely creative - think Einstein or Nina Tandon, a research scientist at Columbia University who "creates" cardiac tissue for potential use in human transplants. But, are the terms "creative" and "artistic" synonomous? I don't think it really makes a difference for the purpose of this blog, but I looked up it up on ask.com (very reputable, I know):
Definition :artistic, imaginative
Synonyms:clever,cool,demiurgic,deviceful,fertile,formative,gifted,hip,ingenious,innovational, innovative, innovatory,inspired, inventive,leading edge, original, originative, productive, prolific, stimulating, visionary, way out
My favourite: way out.
Not all of us are, or can be, or want to be "way out" - I will give you that. But I do believe that all of us have an everyday artist inside that does or can "come out". All it takes is a little tweak in your daily routine and a small hug for Chaos for those of you whose comfort level does not allow for much abandoning of routine. The following are some examples of where and how you can be creative or artistic (and I thought of them all by my little creative self). These kind of exercises are also known to be "good for your brain" (see work done by Dr Simone Ritter):
- For women who put make-up on everyday - choose something different - green eyeliner and bright pink lipstick? How cool is it that we as female humans have a "face canvas" that is not covered in hair.
- For men who wear suits to work: Choose a shirt and tie combo on purpose that you think everyone will say "that so doesn't go together".
- When you make your smoothie in the morning - don't measure anything.
- Go to that Halloween party wearing a costume that took you weeks to either think about or make. And make sure you have a story that goes with it.
- During a boring meeting opt to doodle really big, rather than pretend you are typing an important message on your phone which is in fact only a text to your colleague that says "yawn". If you are brave and/or proud enough, pin your doodle on your cubicle cork board or equivalent.
- Change the route you take home from work and listen to a radio station that broadcasts in a language you don't know. Imagine you understand what they are saying or singing and react to it.
- Sing a song to your children at bedtime that has a familar tune - but completely make up the lyrics.
- Paint your own birthday cards and write a poem on the inside, or nothing at all. Just sign your name.
- Make a "weird" sandwich. I tried peanut butter, avocado, banana and red pepper jelly the other day.
- Write a real love letter and mail it (see my blog on The Modern Love Letter). It doesn't have to be to a romantic partner - could be your parents, a friend, a pet? If it is a pet, know that when it arrives back in your mailbox, be prepared that you will have to open it and read it out loud to said pet.
- Plan a potluck dinner party with an outrageous or challenging theme. A acquantaince of mine plans these on a regular basis with a set group of friends. The host picks the theme and each person who attends is assigned a course to prepare. Think: Foods that a vampire would eat, if in fact, vampires ate. I don't believe they have used this theme - I just made that up.
Its no coincidence that a lot of the above have to do with eating, dressing, gifting, commuting. Aspects of our daily lives, and therefore easy tasks to challenge. Speaking of food, one of my favourite shows is Chopped. Not only is it exciting from a competitive "limited time" and "money if you win" standpoint, but also because they have to combine crazy ingredients of which you would never think to join together. It's amazing to watch what they do with them.
But, as enjoyable as the watching is, have we become complacent creative zombies? The list I suggested above is not genius, and I am sure there are others who have suggested the same things. The problem is I don't think we are actually trying. We have the tools to do more and watch less. You don't have to be a chef or a professional "artsy" to live as an artist. Wake up - the Muses are calling you.