How’s your year going so far? I feel like a broken record with this kind of thing, but I’m genuinely struggling to believe January is almost over. It’s been an odd few weeks, and I’ve found myself feeling quiet and contemplative—processing a blend of artsy thoughts, interpersonal thoughts, and problem-solve-ish thoughts. The big questions, and the little ones, too.
You know, this Deep Dive business is a shape-shifter. Some months, I’m just obsessing over some theme or question, and I find myself asking all of my guests about it, thinking in advance that I’ll want to share my thoughts with you, afterward. Sometimes, it’s a more curious thing. I look over my notes at the end of the month—not having any idea what parallels I’ll find—and see what’s there. It’s sort of an exercise in common ground.
And this round definitely feels more like that, to me. I had three great conversations with very unique individuals…
- Dan Dowsett, Drummer (January 5, Ep. 85)
- Rachel Clark, HMUA, Singer/Songwriter, Painter (January 12, Ep. 86)
- Lindsay Hansen Park, Writer, Podcaster, Painter (January 19, Ep. 87)
As I consider what these gorgeous humans had to say, and weigh that against the wrestlings and longings of my own late-in-January-2021 self, a path seems clear, if mazy.
I’m so taken with Dan’s thoughts on preparing ourselves to be creative. Even before we choose the creative endeavor itself, we can choose to prepare ourselves to think outside the box by changing our habits—what we watch, what we listen to, where we go, how we speak. We can prime our minds for creative thinking.
I love this idea in any context. But lately I find myself specifically thinking about how this idea applies to our relationships, in our small circles, and globally. We can prepare ourselves for actual understanding and empathy (in my opinion, fundamentally creative ventures) by making conscious choices about the words we use, the way we look at the faces of people we misunderstand. Gentle curiosity is one of my favorite states of being. I love approaching new genres, new ideas, new experiences, new problems, and new friends this way. And I loved hearing Dan frame this sort of action as preparation for creativity. I couldn’t be more on board.
And while we’re on the subject of gentleness…Rachel. I just like her so much. We talked about a bunch of things that feel pertinent to this greater conversation, but there are two main ideas that I want to pull out for you.
First, and simply, I loved hearing Rachel talk about making time for daydreaming. I think “empty space,” daydreaming time is an absolutely essential and critical component of creativity. Art and artful thought takes actual time. An investment of time. An investment of “unproductive” time for meandering thoughts, disorganized musing, and free feeling. I’d love to hear your thoughts on daydreaming. What does it feel like to you? What role does it play in your process?
And then…I feel sort of thrilled about the conversation Rachel and I had about our somewhat meta-creative processes. Thinking creatively about our creative actions. We’re both the type to go down a rabbit hole and find ourselves drawn by a broad variety of passions and projects. It’s so easy to start to wonder whether these myriad curiosities are intuitive…or just a distraction from other *real* work we should be doing. I guess I feel like this is another important way to look at creativity from the outside in. I don’t have any answers. I just think it’s a question that deserves some attention.
And really, almost my entire conversation with Lindsay is in this vein. I see her as an embodiment of meta-creativity. Toward the end of the chat, Lindsay challenged my evergreen theory that creativity is ultimately just curiosity, and suggested that rather, it’s a deliberate intention to redefine [ourselves, a medium, an idea, etc.]. It’s a provocative idea for me—one that will leave me thinking for a good long while. And as an unrelated (maybe related?) note, talking with Lindsay about duality/plurality was just the best. I could simmer on that subject for years. Love, love, love.
So. With these words, I pass my current befuddlement to you for consideration. For me, it’s all of the things, right now. The perennial deep-in-my-inner-child-core battles, the puzzles of my in-process projects (rabbit holes included), the collective trauma of this year/era, the quandaries of the near future…they’re wrapped up all together. And maybe that’s why I find myself drawn to thoughts about what happens all around the action. The action itself feels a little too tangled.
What do you think?