Look, Creativity! (4)

It takes “cherry pickers” going up and down and a lot of hours. They do a beautiful job for the winter season. During sunset, it’s otherworldy. In the evening twilight and the blue hour, all glow. In the darkness, pretty fierce. Blocks of creativity.

Photo by me.

Mourning, and…

Recently, I was by the window reading, and crying over, and loving, a short story by Elizabeth Graver called “The Mourning Door.” In past times, wealthier folks, who waked the dead at home, would have such a door in the hall or parlor for the coffin to exit. It was used only for that purpose, so the living and dead didn’t share doors. In Graver’s beautiful story, the mourning door is up high on the wall of the narrator’s new old house, so that the coffin could go right down into a waiting cart.

I was reading with coffee, just before dawn, as I like to do. I looked up eventually to see what sunrise was like that day, and saw a bird near my window, sound asleep on a long branch of the maple. You know already, yes? Yes. Mourning Dove. It was rounded down and completely still, just a couple of feathers ruffling in the light wind every little while, against a sort of pale, melony sky.

A story I happened to be reading. A bird common to my neighborhood. That’s all. Except there I was, saying “mourning door, mourning dove.” The Universe is all One, and funny little random things happen all the time. In an important sense, nothing happened. But I loved that the word echoed, and I put the experience in my mental pocket. Beautiful.

Also a little creepy. If I were a character in certain old novels, this would be darkly typical. All you English majors know the tree Rochester proposed to Jane Eyre under was struck by lightning that very night. Inner stuff manifesting in the outer world was a given, back in the Romantic period. And a college professor once called me a “pre-post-Romantic” for a reason.

Buddhist teachers have explained that when we look at a tree, most of us don’t see the tree. We see ourselves looking at the tree. It’s one of those things that, once you experience yourself doing it, you get it. I had refused to accept it before that, cradling wounded pride in my Nature Appreciation. Now I not only know it’s true, I’m not ashamed of it. It’s human, and no one is trying to shame anyone, just trying to open our sense of what is what.

Read up on Buddhist philosophy if you’re curious, but my point here is that the story and the bird exist without me, unconnected by my experience at that particular time, not in reality connected by that word. Obviously. Indeed the bird cares not what our language paints upon it, as one of those old Romantics might have declared, as some buff-colored dove warbled by. And yet. It’s also a fact that two things with “Mourning” in their names showed up exactly together, against a lot of odds.

A tree that falls in the forest when there’s no one to hear it does not actually make a sound, because sound exists inside ears. I was here to see these two things, so…what? And: I was here to see these two things. So what?

As the young Danish man, who may or may not have known his own mind, said, “That is the question.”

Photograph by me

Look, Creativity! (2)

That is the side of a building, that I’m sure has a name, at Jamaica Pond in Boston. It’s pavilion-like and used for music, events, and sitting quietly. The art installation, made of moss, is one of a series: an earlier quotation was by, and celebrated the 200th birthday in 2022 of, Frederick Law Olmsted, famed landscape architect. His art was my refuge during the Covid lockdown, as some of us in Boston had the privilege (white, geographical?) of freedom and spirit-sustenance in his parks.

The line above is by Ralph Waldo Emerson, another of our New England Nature bigwigs, another person whose work has mattered in my life. The installation artist is being elusive online, but it may be Heidi Schork and Jerome Jones, who created the earlier one(s). Schork directs the Mayor’s Mural Crew in Boston, and I love my city just a little more because this group exists.

There’s a lot of art coming together in this spot, is what I am saying. The moss itself included.

I’m enjoying the book Olmsted Trees right now. Greenberg’s photos focus on the massive trunks of FLO’s park trees throughout the country. Honestly, if you haven’t seen it, your coffee table has not yet begun to live.

Below is another photo from this first week of the year, another work of Boston artistry in another work-of-art park. It was a foggy, chilly evening, and damp underfoot. Being able both to feel and see the air in that weather opened up a sense of airspace and spaciousness that surprised me in the best way.

Look, Creativity! (1)

Begin 2023
trying to see

Surrounded by trees, Jamaica Pond in Boston offers a lot of driftwood and branches for the creative builder. Strucrtures like this one have been popping up in area parks pretty regularly since the start of the lockdown in 2020, but this is the first one I've seen in the water. Scale is tough in this shot, but I could just about stand up straight in it were I inclined to wade in January, and I'm about 5'4".

I don't know the creators, but if anyone does, please comment!

Adding my own favorite of the photos that I took today, winterberry at the pond.

Happy New Year!

Layers of Inspiration

Work by Parrish Relics

I love to write about art. I’ve done it as an undergraduate, in my PhD program, for my work at the historic site, for PBS Annual Auctions’ art/antique nights, while covering the local arts scene here in Boston, and for my own pleasure as a poet.

This is the first time, although I hope not the last, that I wrote about work an artist is featuring online. I can follow SEO best practices, but here mainly Creativity was called for. I’ve always found this artist’s work evocative and inspiring, and the fox and rabbit prompted me as much as the medieval French tapestries inspired her.

I’m so pleased to be part of the launch of these pieces at Parrishrelics.com!

Her contribution is in the image, and mine is below: Please visit both at her site.


A fascinating aspect of beautiful medieval tapestries is the sense of many things happening, but not quite in real time or space. That strange perception can wake us up, as our eyes move along the flat woven surface. A flower here, an animal there. We notice a cat, a fox, a rabbit, a variety of plants.

When we take a moment to notice each one, we appreciate the whole tapestry more. Life benefits from the same kind of Looking. When we take a moment to notice, or to wear, one beautiful element of the natural world, we remember each plant or creature is part of Nature, and we can see that Whole in each one of them.


Tapestry Life

The fox was not hungry

for anything

but beauty, for a little

grace, its own place

in the colors, among

the strange stitched plants,

to sit, and some breath

of wind behind

the tapestry, to bring it

life. Being Art,

both sly and soft, and

wise and tricky, fox

eyed the weave to hunt

meanings. Also soft,

signing luck and plenty,

the rabbit climbed

across the tapestry, across

time and space, from one Art

to another Art, to offer

a small shine of

new Beauty,

inspired by old Beauty, one

living thing to another.

– by Lin Nulman

Lin Nulman has wide experience writing for herself, for the historic site where she works, for creative journals and anthologies, for theaters, for public television art auctions, and for websites about real estate and design. She invites creative people who need writing and/or editing services to get in touch. She’s fortunate to have a job she loves; newly self-employed freelancing is her side hustle, so she is mellow and all-around reasonable to work with. Find her at https://thecreativeparttimer.wordpress.com or lin.nulman@yahoo.com

Are you a good switch or a bad switch??

I was watching a video this morning about simplifying life, trying to figure out where I put that idea down and walked away from it. I’m curious how other people put life goals into words, and this person had a thoughtful, practical list. What stood out for me was her term for something I’ve struggled with the last few months. I guess I could have guessed there would be a term for it. Task-switching.

It’s not multi-tasking. I don’t. I can’t. I used to. Nope. I’m remembering to drink my tea in between sentences here, and that’s as far as that goes. Task-switchers do one thing at a time, but they jump around too much, too fast, too often. My task-switching mind is frankly out of control and wearing me out.

Part of the problem is the gig economy, even though I like/love my jobs. I try to designate days they will occupy, but the emails crossover, the meetings jump the fence, and my own thoughts run screaming from job to job out of habit. And each switch requires putting aside a ton of thoughts and knowledge before picking up, however briefly, a whole other huge set of thoughts and knowledge.

This is not conducive to creative time and space, is it? Nope. Each job has a variety of tasks and projects, did I mention that? It’s all cramming my brain like that hall closet no one should ever, ever open. Like the ship’s cabin scene in the Marx Brothers’ Night at the Opera. (Watch it if you haven’t. Have a laugh at the highly organized absurdity. Any similarities between it and actual lives is intentional and to be noted.)

As we switch into February, I am going to focus on cutting out the task-switching. This is probably going to involve doing less for, and thinking less about, my jobs, and yet still insisting to myself that I am a good enough person. That’s the other part: I’m driven to task-switch by inner messages I should not listen to.

It’s also going to involve a good switch in perception. Did you ever suddenly realize that your perception of something was creating an actual obstacle in your life? I realized recently that I never reward myself for writing practice, because I perceive my practice AS the reward. For getting everything else done to everyone else’s satisfaction and in their best interest, thus justifying the writing time I am then too tired to enjoy. Whoops. May I just say that? Whoops.

Because Blizzard

Because when there is a blizzard and you have to style your plants, there is a blizzard and you have to style your plants.

Because when a Buddha postcard, books, and an old panda are creatively involved, they are creatively involved.

The two tomatoes grew from market produce. The snake plant was adopted from family. The palm was left in the building basement. All other plants are the children of two cuttings I happened to get from a volunteer gig in the early 90s. Shells from Peabody’s Beach, Middletown, RI. The goldfish is a wind-up toy.

Creativity can be just to please yourself.

Month’s End

Photo by me, Jamaica Pond, Jamaica Plain, MA

So I’ve tried to do my bit for Poetry Month and Decorating Month. I want to wish everyone a positive May and end the month with a quotation from Rebecca Solnit. This is from Recollections of My Nonexistence, which I recommend to Creative People. She’s writing about books, but I think it applies to all Creativity:

“The sheer pleasure of meeting new voices and ideas and possibilities, having the world become more coherent in some subtle or enormous way, extending of filling in your map of the universe, is not nearly celebrated enough, nor is the beauty of finding pattern and meaning. But these awakenings recur, and every time they do there’s joy.”

Both beautiful and true, I think. Wishing you all some joy. Or, re: my photo, something to be your ground and bedrock, something to be your growth, and something to be your fluid freedom. See in you in May.

Untitled Poem

Working Poetry Month, another work in progress, responses welcome


The silence circles its fingertip
on the rim of a glass, and the tone
comes, strung ice-water tight.

The afternoon looks out the window.
An old chair offers the body
ease, and neither speaks.

Senses float, here and there
exclaiming their hunger like gulls
that slice across the view outside.

The willow’s winter straws cross
and twist. How can these knotted strings be
eternal, simple, yellow since

before and after your words? 
How can this tree not
know you, when it flows as you breathe?

Photo by me, Fens Victory Gardens, Boston, MA

“More Space” for Poetry Month

Photo by Kristin Vogt on Pexels.com
More Space

Things palpably everywhere seem identical,
so snow is sunlight. And rain
a thousand maple leaves 
seen from underneath.
The appearance of space around,
through, within the fume of fog
or a shining glass sky outlines
the objects it obscures. Nothing
reveals more space than
space taken, when emptiness 
so visibly embodies
there being nowhere to go. 

ADVISE? I perhaps think one or two more concrete images might be wanted. If this brought any images to your mind, will you please comment and share them?  Thank you! (Yes, thanks for asking, it IS a big deal for a recovering perfectionist to post Work in Progress and admit it. I'm pretty pleased with me right now.)

And the Space on My Bookshelf Goes To…

Photo by Janko Ferlic on Pexels.com

Since a number of Creative people spent Sunday night thanking other Creative people for their contribution to whatever the first Creative people accomplished, I’d like to do the same.

Since I mentioned the many designers and foragers whose books inspire me, I thought to list them here. It’s by no means all of them: Turns out the Boston Public Library doesn’t like it much when you take down a whole shelf of books and park on the carpet right there. The ones I own, and some of the ones I love, are:

The New Bohemians (Justina Blakeney is kind of a goddess.)

Flea Market Style (A fun, Creative force, this team. Will make you want to hit that flea and hit it hard, as my friend would say.)

Junk Style (Melanie Molesworth, aside from having an awesome name, is one of my gurus.)

Simple Home: Calm Spaces for Comfortable Living (The Baileys are…simply great.)

Wild at Home: How to Style and Care for Beautiful Plants (My newest addition. Exuberant, with ideas for the simple space. A girl can dream of having a fig tree.)

The Stylist’s Guide to NYC (Sibella Court, whose other books I have read and hope to obtain, is a magic person.)

If anyone has recommendations, please do comment. Books, designers, stuff, Instagram, whatever.


You know, I literally have five more days of Poetry and Decorating Month, so don’t rush me.

I have seen segments of the British Antiques Roadshow with a host, three similar objects, and an expert in those particular objects. The host and surrounding onlookers try to figure out which object has the highest monetary value. All the objects are aesthetic delights.

I told my friend Sandy (link to her blog post about my blog) that I would post during Decorating Month about the bone we pick with the Boston Globe Sunday magazine “home” features. The theme of our rants is simple: How to Decorate Big Space with Big Money is of little use to a lot of us.

Frankly, I love looking at “real estate porn”, and most simple/edgy/boho/unusual home design fascinates me. I am also a fan of Marni Elyse Katz, who writes these features now. She’s good!

My own object/decor jam is more thrift, gift, and foraging. People write about that, too. I have six books on the topic and counting, and they’re mostly second-hand. And I practice. My glass square that came from an old job when they closed contains a highly curated collection of park tree branches, pond driftwood, and a stick I grabbed out of a community garden compost area. I mean, this thing is curated. It’s an arrrrrrangement.

I have framed book covers, book pages, and postcards on the wall. The pleasing display above my desk contains a thrift-store glass cylinder of stones and shells in colorful layers, a birch log, two ocean stones, a framed collage I made from a beat-up book, and the fired clay figure I made in Sunday School crafts class, who vaguely resembles Buddha in a beret. This is how I roll, and a lot of interesting authors have encouraged my roll.

So let’s play the Roadshow game and decide what is my most valuable work of art in the photo. If the Ansel Adams were the real deal, then yeah. But it’s posterboard in a frame, and someone left it in the building when they moved out. So it cost me nothing, but it is full of value. First thing I hung in this apartment, it connects me to the tree outside, and my gaze often wanders into its deepness when my gaze needs to wander.

The one on the right is a print of King’s Chapel, the wonderful 18th-century historic site where I used to work and hope to work again. It’s likely from a re-issue the artist’s son did in the 1970s. I know this because artist Jas Murray did a lot of local scenes and still seems to be very popular. I found it in a charity shop, hanging there waiting for me, which I’m sure is what it was doing. It fills my heart up every day, like a lover’s portrait.

The piece on the left is by artist and parfumier John Biebel. The pensive woman carries a long-stemmed flower and has a lovely old home growing out of her head. It was gift to me from my friend John. I find it exquisite and inspiring, and it represents the generous kindness of a friend I love.

Cost winner? King’s Chapel at $6. Value winner? Nope. Each one is beautiful to me, makes me happy when I look at it, surrounds me with Creativity. The Creative finding of Creative things is decor my way.

Poetry Month First Course

Let’s have champagne first: Here are some spring Haiku, small poetic bubbles that they are.

A half-circle of melon dawn
disappeared. March snow.

Between small hills, dawn
stays blue. The bare tree is still
its shadow.

Storm wind trickles in somewhere.
The prism fidgets, glints

The Ecstasies of a Gigantic List

What could I love more, or want more to blog about, than a thoughtful, informed, ecstatic appreciation of Creativity, that is itself a gorgeous piece of Creativity?

Past readers will know that I have blogged in response to Olivia Rutigliano, who had ranked 45 detective sidekicks. I blogged because I heartily agreed and disagreed with OR. Now she has created a ranking of 100 Sherlock Holmes portrayals on screen, and I would buy this woman a fancy coffee every day for the rest of our lives.

Now click on this!

Her criteria, her observations, her enthusiasm, and her voice make this about as much fun as a Sherlock Holmes fan can possibly have. (Except me. I got to make out with him.)

I thank her, among other things:

for offering me new films, shows, and sketches to watch

for her continued and correct admiration for The Great Mouse Detective and for mentioning Vincent Price

for going into the past, going international, and going multi-species (Yay, Wishbone!)

for liking Murder by Decree, for loving Christopher Lee, and for knowing Ian Richardson also played Dr. Bell

for FINALLY helping me understand my long-standing visceral problem with the lovely and talented actor James D’Arcy. It is NOT his fault, but yeah, he WAS totally the guy I was trapped in literary theory seminars with. There it is. Not his fault, not my fault: Academia’s fault. As it usually winds up being.

Anyway, the only thing I can offer her in return for this Gigantic List are two tips: OR, if you haven’t, as your review suggests, actually watched the Matt Frewer Hound, you might just want… tonotwatchit. Also, if you enjoyed Richardson as Bell, have you seen Arthur and George, I believe also on Masterpiece? Conan Doyle’s (Martin Clunes) secretary Woodie is played by Charles Edwards, who played Doyle to Richardson’s Bell.

How do I love this List? Let me count the ways.

“The Footprints of a Gigantic Hound”

Happy National Poetry Month and National Decorating Month, two of my favorite forms of creativity.

Enough of that for today: It’s April 3, and on April 3 we say, as my dear friend, whom I met 39 years ago today when I saw him play Sherlock Holmes, said on Facebook, Happy Hound Day!

I was already a ma-ajor Sherlock Holmes fan at 14 when I went to this play, adapted and performed by The Rhode Island Shakespeare Theatre in Newport, RI. Because of that night, I was about to become a ma-ajor theater devotee and hard worker in that, and several other, companies. It was the night I met people who are among my oldest and dearest friends and family, and others came soon after in other productions.

So when I say this particular piece of creativity looms large for me, you get it, right? I’m dedicating my future book to TRIST and a big ol’ puppy.

For now, I would like to honor that book and that play on April 3 by listing the acted versions I have seen. It’s not all there are, or why would I go on?

I will list them by who played Holmes, although it’s always the whole team, including the puppy.

Donald Wight (TRIST actor and friend, will always be my favorite. Not a real puppy in that one, but whatever.)

And now, in no particular order:

Basil Rathbone (Mmmmmm….Watson, the needle…)

Peter Cushing (LOVE me a Hammer Film)

Peter Cooke (and Dudley Moore, yes)

Tom Baker (Dr. Who. Really.)

Ian Richardson (Bless him for every role he ever played)

Jeremy Brett (never to be outdone)

Benedict Cumberbatch (Indeed!)

Richard Roxburgh (odd choice, most obvious suggestion that Watson was “kept”, quite worth seeing)

Matt Frewer (In college we loved Max Headroom, and that’s ALL I’m going to say about this. Except maybe, um, Yikes.)

Do YOU have a favorite version, or a favorite actor who played Sherlock Holmes, whether they did Hound or not? PLEASE DO COMMENT.

The illustration, taken from Wikipedia, is by Sidney Paget. I mentioned him last post: placer of the deerstalker on the head of Holmes. See the flow I’ve got going here? Happy Hound Day.

Tip of the Hat

You know, one of the names in my family is Schwimmer. I’m pretty close to being one. So there is no hesitation about the following statement:


(I’d say ask someone who watched TV in the 90s, but I understand it has come roaring back among the young people.)

I’m not sure why I was on a break, and more to the point, I’m not sure why I’m blogging again. I refer you and myself to the framed cartoon by James Thurber on my bookshelf: a woman is speaking to two other people about a fourth person on her knees tending flowers. The first woman explains: “She has the true Emily Dickinson spirit, except that she gets fed up occasionally.”

So there that is.

I will not bore you with that with which I was fed up. Yeah, snappy syntax was not one of those things.

I’ve found myself again jotting down unrelated trains of thought on creativity and liking how unrelated they are. Maybe I was fed up with a sense of set destination for the blog.

So here’s April: National Poetry Month and National Decorating Month, starting with a day for fools, with Shakespeare’s birthday on the way. Perfect time to begin blogging again, I guess. I think I plan to drop Creativity on you from lots of angles, including all those above, and even ideas and bits for a book I’m dreaming up.

NO, the blog’s re-birth is not to tugboat the book along. Shhh.

So, April 1. Let’s talk hats. Specifically, let’s talk about the jester’s hat, aka the fool’s hat or the “cap and bells”.  Perfect, right? I always thought this headgear with the two or three jingling tentacles was an act of creativity, Someone’s image of court jesters of olden times that somehow stuck.

After all, it was illustrator Sidney Paget who put the never-mentioned deerstalker on Sherlock Holmes’s head. Talk about some serious branding and an immortal hat!

Several years ago, the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, MA had a wonderful exhibit on hats, both as fashion history and artistic creation. And, Lo, there was jester’s hat from days of yore. I was so surprised the icon was for real, and I blame Paget.

The “hat” in today’s visual is a miniature of the ship Belle Poule, an 18th-century frigate that did France proud in battle. Adorning already highly dressed hair with a ship as a chapeau became most fashionable. Yes, my book involves historic objects, why do you ask?

Source: Wikipedia

In the Zone

Photo by me: work fans are our friends.

I saw something on social media that tried to say a lot at once. It led me to want to write in response my version of what many people have already said. The quote was attributed to Carl Jung:

Comfort is a drug. Once you get used to it, it becomes addicting. Give a weak person consistent stimulation, good food, cheap entertainment, and they’ll throw their ambitions right out the window. The comfort zone is where dreams go and die.

Yeah, I don’t think so. I can’t find online evidence for his authorship of this, but my search was not full due diligence.

It seems a little harsh and snarky for Jung. He did write about embracing Life’s natural suffering, rather than retreating into false comfort to the point of not really living. But he seems to be discussing extremes of retreat and symptoms of illness, not an introvert’s or a creative person’s need for solitude and space. The comforts that are to us what sunlight and water are to a garden don’t seem to be things he would attack. 

So I call bullshit. And I was happy to see a lot of comments on the post were doing the same. People were standing up for their needs and their processes.

First point. Yes, dopamine hits from the online realms are real and addictive. Their call is powerful. FOMO is powerful. Rescue-kitten videos are powerful.  Stress, news trauma, and compassion fatigue, never mind experienced trauma, are powerful. 

But I don’t think it’s a matter of doing battle with them, swinging wildly at an enemy or surrendering. It’s a matter of choosing, from among a number of things with various values, what is most important. To the extent you can, since we don’t all have the same privileges of choice. You establish the attention and routines that foster the things chosen, letting the others go, in whatever time and space you have. Thanks to Greg McKeown for writing about this so well.

Second point, more bullshit. As one commenter put it so well, it’s Survival Mode where dreams go to die. Nothing like stress and exhaustion to smother creative energy for some of us. Do NOT let anyone convince you to join the So Just Push Through It All movement. Creativity does not have to hinge on the twisted, exaggerated sense of hustle and productivity our society worships.

For some people, pressure and intense activity do work well. You all do you! But it’s not mandatory, and for some of us it’s deeply unhealthy. For us, there is nothing wrong and everything right in a comfort zone. Some ease, some space and quiet, some of what is familiar and not challenging. 

If you soothe yourself with intelligence and care, with your priorities in mind, what’s the problem? I get A LOT done in my comfort zone: I’m in it right now, writing away, having finished one project and moved on to this draft. I need my zone in order to be OK. I can engage with some passionate feelings on this topic BECAUSE it’s early in the morning and quiet, and because I have coffee. That’s. How. I. Work.

So, yeah, try not to fill up on chips when you need to feed yourself for real, or to get lost clicking when you need time and space for Creativity. (And when these both happen, OK, take a breath, move on.) Showing up IS actually vital. But don’t let other people’s needs or values dictate the way you need to be creative.

Peaceful Assembly?

A YouTuber I like deals with style, lifestyle, and healthy, flexible minimalism. She also uses footage of coastal Australia in beautiful ways.

Her content comes from her creativity and knowledge as a former art teacher, and from her willingness to grow in front of her audience. Something she talked about has been haunting me in a positive way for a couple of weeks. 

A viewer asked if she regretted not teaching anymore. Her answer was a clear No, and her explanation offered me a new idea I’m still pondering.

She said teaching required her to “disassemble” her creativity. To teach others how to do art, she had to show them how the parts and pieces work . Teaching the basics of something to beginners can be worthy, important work. My hat remains off to those who do it well, including myself. Many do it in challenging, exhausting, and/or underpaid situations where they are neither respected nor valued. 

But I had never heard someone describe teaching quite that way. Explaining to first-year college students how to write a sensible paragraph, or how to avoid stringing five full sentences together with commas, was a disassembly of my own writing?? Maybe.

Obviously, if you’re showing student mechanics a car in parts spread on the ground, you’re not driving that particular car. I’ve been teaching college ten months a year for a decade, plus for years before that, and I don’t clearly remember writing without teaching writing. This is the first summer and fall I’m not teaching. Already I’m sticking to my writing practice better despite the challenges of my other work. 

Here in Boston, we have a T (subway) station called Assembly. One day I saw a T map where some witty wag had written “Required” after Assembly, imitating the font pretty well with a marker. Maybe they were trying to tell me something? I know the YouTuber’s Creativity expands and flowers all the time.

I don’t know what any upcoming “reassembly” of my Creativity will look like. I’m just curious to see things this way and see what happens.

Two channels by Patricia are Create Authentic Style and A Small Wardrobe.

Choice Post

I’ve been drafting ideas through the spring to write about, but did not ask my mind to do more than it could do in a healthy way. Without a Director or a full staff at my job, the extra thinking and work required to keep rolling took up some creative mind space. 

That’s how it works, isn’t it? Some people put militant boundaries around their creative time and space, and some of us compromise it, trying to go with the ebb and flow of our lives. I guess some of us switch between these strategies. Because my schedule changes weekly, monthly, and by semesters, I’ve been going with the ebb and flow. And finding how easy it is to ebb and how hard to flow. Yup, same story, different day. I know.

There’s endless advice out there about handling a creative life, some of it excellent. A lot boils down to actually practicing whatever commitment is right for you. 

Even when I’m not actively engaged in my creative routine, my consciousness seems to circle around the space where it could be. The type of paid work I do, and the difficulties that come with it, are what I have chosen and love. I choose not to have and not to do any number of things other people might really need. I don’t need them as much as I need that circled space, full or empty. I have let go of what I can do without in order to have what I need, and that’s not always a comfortable statement. And I often fail to take advantage of the space I’ve made.

As the late Andre Dubus (not Andre Dubus III)  once wrote in his fiction, “It was not as simple as money…it was as complex as the soul. But so often the body ruled,…and when it was overwhelmed, venom could spread through the soul…with money, one could soothe the body, give it rest.” When we have what we do need, and that includes financial stability,, it’s true the soul, body and creative life can be healthier, more whole. What price do we pay to have that? Some of us give up ideal creative space/time for the “good enough” space/time that we can afford to sustain. 

That requires choice, what life will consist of and what it will not, what is positive and not, what is bearable and not. No one has full choice; Life doesn’t work that way. So Choice about our own lives is precious, as daily life is precious in the knowledge of its ultimate ending. I believe in karma, the consequences of choices. We are all playing a role in the Fabric that binds us together. To take away Choice is to take away that ultimate right, that of fulfilling what we are as pieces of the Universe. 

What I create or don’t is my business and my responsibility. So much that happens in life cannot be and won’t be our Choice. To take away any of what is our Choice, is unconscionable.