It can be hard to feel creative. Few skills are more valued these days than are storytelling, innovative thinking, inventive problem solving, yada yada. I stare at an image-macro template and can’t think of anything funny for Grumpy Cat to say.

I have committed acts of art, of course. But there are people romping around these days who I could swear keep a muse in a cage at home, and can therefore grace their audiences with two-hour monologues at a moment’s notice. They push out columns and articles and blog posts and hardcover books every. single. day and you really can’t shut them up on Twitter. I observe their creative output with silent bewilderment, and envy. Everything that happens to them or around them is a story waiting to be drawn with tiny details, shared, and monetized. Definitely monetized.

A recent experience of mine: I walked to the laundromat, walked back home while the clothes were in the dryer, washed dishes, then returned to the laundromat to collect my stuff. I lugged the hamper home again. The end.

No story there. I just don’t see one. It’s not for lack of looking. David Sedaris could go to the laundromat and come back with enough witty material for a segment on NPR.

When a shape forms from the generic building blocks of real life, I nearly revere it. Like when a damaged wall looks like a picture of an old man in a hat.

I took a smartphone photo of the wall while on foot and heading for the public library. It’s found art. The paint peeled and crumbled and left behind a gritty portrait. The aged hat is crumpled and the beard sticks out. I see an elderly Amish farmer. Life has hardened his profile. He isn’t the most pleasant individual you’re going to meet. He endures and doesn’t believe in relaxing. He isn’t looking for anyone’s permission to go on living anyway.

It doesn’t happen for me every. single. day, but when creativity meets me with an idea I feel more like I belong in an era that’s fascinated with inspiration.

Photo credit: JoJoTheModern, CC 2.0 Attribution


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