Life's little lessons · The Cork Board

The Creative Muscle


Some years ago someone told me that being creative is a bit like being an athlete. Your creative brain is a muscle that requires training just like any other. Many of us have, or have had, full time jobs that develop the more pragmatic side of our instincts rather than the creative side and thus, it can be difficult to keep that creative muscle flexed and ready. Add to that the lack of time and, sometimes, energy, keeping that most human of attributes, our creative streak, sparking, can be a challenge.
So where does your inspiration come from? As an art student many, many years ago I kept an image book of anything which moved me, good or bad, horrible or pretty. This was so that I could use it as a ready source of inspiration when the muse ran dry and also so that I could spend some time analysing the reasons for my reactions to certain images. Indulgent but useful.
Recently, I found myself examining the design elements of a car parked beside mine as I waited for my wife to arrive. On a completely ordinary car I was impressed by the flowing lines. Seemingly unrelated lines flowed together across wheels panels lights hubs from one end to the other. I was impressed that someone in a design team had taken the time to make this look as good as possible.
Nowadays, I keep a notebook with me at all times and write down or sketch anything that strikes me. I am one of those freaky people who can remember my craziest dreams in detail and if I have a creative one I think I can use then I make notes as soon as I wake. I list music which inspires me. Admittedly I don’t listen to it often because I want to preserve that inspiration and to not smother it with familiarity.
So, I’m trying to get the creative muscle flexing and stretching every day. It helps me feel alive.
When my son graduated as a Jazz God from Leeds College of Music the British saxophonist Alan Barnes gave the keynote speech and he finished his address with something like this, with a little grandeur for the occasion;
“Whatever you do, you’re going out into the big wide musical world, and above all else……improvise………you don’t want to get to your death bed and wish you had.”
Improvise. Spark. Do it for yourself.
Food for thought for all walks of life.

2 thoughts on “The Creative Muscle

  1. You are so right, ‘Improvise, spark, do it for yourself’ . It seems to take a life time to get the message, and even more so in this corporate , global, market led world we live in. I have been thinking about creativity alot recently,mainly as a response to suddenly losing my mojo t write poetry, which I really , really miss. Check out my blog , I’ll keep checking back to see what you are up to!
    https://amonikabyanyuvva.wordpress.com/2011/06/07/why-do-we-need-art-do-we-need-

  2. Thanks, your posts are really encouraging. It takes effort to keep trying, but its the effort that makes me feel alive. I am beginning to realise I don’t need to be the next Shakespeare, or Van Gogh. Tricky though , !

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