A Creative Life

Lately I’ve been thinking about creativity and how it enriches and enhances everyday life. We can’t all become great artists. To do so requires a combination of talent, hard work, persistence, and—something we might hate to acknowledge—good luck. While chance might only favor the prepared mind, there is something to be said for being in the right place at the right time and having the right people pulling for you.

But I truly believe that most of us can live a creative life and that this is not the sole province of the enormously talented. As with many things, there is no one path to living a creative life, and vive la difference!

I feel extraordinarily lucky in knowing many, many people who live creative lives. In fact, I know so many that I really can’t list them all, but here are a few: John, a scrounge extraordinaire and a librarian who supplements his library’s tiny budget by scouring book sales and his town’s transfer station for books that he not only adds to the collection but also sells for additional income. There is Shari, who is so accomplished with knitting and needlework and who makes the loveliest pieces, often from scraps. There is Diane, a true green bean, who has made her old house snug and energy efficient. She also makes snappy jewelry from found objects.

I must add my son-in-law Mike who draws, paints, and takes pictures; my daughter Shannon who cooks the most wonderful meals; my daughter Dee and her keen intellect, which gives a creative edge to everything she does. My engineer friend Jim who can fix pretty much anything. My own husband, Clif, and his photographer’s eye, and  Farmer Kev, who grows food for so many people.

All right, I’ll stop. Apologies to friends and acquaintances who were left out. Kudos to all of you, especially those who do volunteer work. This, too, is a form of creativity that uses one of our most precious resources—time.

In my own life, I bake and cook, making pretty much all the bread that we eat.

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I’ve learned how to take pictures, something I never thought I’d be able to do. I’ve come late to photography, thus proving that even as you age, you can learn new things and expand what you do.

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And, of course, I write, five days a week, sometimes more, depending on what is happening. Writing is the center of my day, and without it, my life would feel out of whack. Words and story are definitely the thing for me.

By weaving creativity in with everyday life, we bring a spark that adds meaning to all that we do.  Creativity can also bring a much-needed attention to how we live. Can we create from things that would ordinarily be thrown out? Cook from scratch and thereby use less packaging? Scrounge useful items from the transfer station? Fix things when they are broken? In the end, a creative life is often a green life, and if there’s one thing we need people to do more, then it is to be as green as possible.

I’m going to end with a quotation from one of my favorite writers, Miss Read, who wrote stories about English village life. Here is her description of one of the characters—Mrs. Willet: “She can salt pork or beef, make jams, jellies, wines, and chutneys and pickles; she can bake pies…She makes rugs, curtains, and her own clothes. She can help a neighbour in childbirth…She is [a] good… gardener and sings in the choir…It is a creative life. There is something worthwhile to show for energy expended which engenders the desire to accomplish more. Small wonder that the Mrs. Willets of this world are happy, and deserve to be so.”

Small wonder, indeed.

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