Creativity Faucet Blowout
Sitting by a fire might be the very thing that gets me through a pandemic winter. I suppose there's something therapeutic in it that I really can't help, something built into my very psyche that draws me to sit by a fire, for the warmth, yes, and for the mesmerizing quality of the flames. It seems that this would be the ideal time of life to discover all the therapeutic activities one could find, and then of course, make a list, from which you could draw from at any overwhelmingly confusing situation you might find yourself in. (See: Navigating large family gatherings during a pandemic.)
For the sake of variation, I should probably endeavor to not exclusively write about the perils of 2020. This might be a good time to note that the perils of 2020 will soon be the perils of 2021 and will need to be classified as the perils of an age, not specific to the confines of just one calendar year. Though, I do believe they call the Spanish Flu the 1918 Spanish Flu or something like that, even though they dealt with it for several years. In any case, 2020 is where I find myself, and it does seem to be the type of experience that alters you, if not for your lifetime, then for an orbit or two.
It might stand as a valuable activity to analyze the situation we find ourselves in, address it, get it the hell out of the forefront of the mind, in order to access something else entirely. Something better, more fruitful, robust and creative; something with which to take steps forward into the Incredible Unknown.
I read a snippet of an article on Julian Shapiro's Twitter the other day, talking about what he called the Creativity Faucet, it was a method for creative writing. It reads,
Visualize your creativity as a backed-up pipe of water. The first mile of piping is packed with wastewater. This wastewater must be emptied before the clear water arrives.
Because your pipe only has one faucet, there's no shortcut to achieving clarity other than first emptying the wastewater.
Let's apply this to creativity: At the beginning of a writing session, you must write out every bad idea that reflexively comes to mind. Instead of being self-critical and resisting these bad ideas, you must openly accept them.
This is one of the most difficult, and yet, best, abilities humans can learn! But I digress,
Once the bad ideas are emptied, strong ideas begin to arrive.
Here's why: Once you've generated enough bad output, your brain attenuates to the underlying elements producing the badness. Then it intuitively avoids those elements. It starts pattern-matching novel ideas going forward.
This might be what I'm doing here.
One might argue that writing and publishing blog posts of bad ideas is not the way to dispose of my nasty idea constipation, WHY ARE YOU AIRING OUT YOUR WASTEWATER ON THE INTERNET?! To which I might reply, airing out one's wastewater on the internet is in vogue, it is one of, if not the hippest way to exist in this century. So I may have some stinky blog posts, with the stench of (what we hope will someday be) a bygone era of pandemic thoughts that I'm unplugging on the internet. But, let's be honest, it's a very dark, infrequently visited corner of the internet, not in an ominous 4chan kind of way, but just one of those innocently unimportant kind of ways.
Maybe we'll get some real good, solid blog posts out of me one of these days. I think one of the most important things I am learning in regards to accessing my creativity is the very thing he mentioned in not freaking out about having bad ideas. I'm quite certain I've lived decades of my life horrified at the implications of having bad ideas, so I put that nasty wastewater plug back in, tuck my notebook back on the shelf, and just sit on it for a few more years. But you got to get that out, people. Constipation is the worst.