Posts Tagged ‘Creativity’

Inspiration Point

Posted: May 25, 2017 in Uncategorized
Tags: ,

By Tricia Lunt, English Faculty

“You can’t wait for inspiration, you have to go after it with a club”

Jack London

I appreciate all the verbs associated with inspiration: get inspired, be inspired, stay inspired, to inspire.

As an educator, I require a steady supply of inspiration, for my students and myself. Like the heliotrope sunflower, I bend toward inspiration, eager to get closer.

Naturally, reading offers endless marvels. I just started a fascinating book, one that came my way via a recommendation from another artist constantly seeking inspiration, Austin Kleon.

IMG954423

“Black Out Poem,” by Austin Kleon (with reflection of Samantha)

I follow Kleon’s blog and have read and admired his books, Steal Like an Artist and Show Your Work. Quite happily, I also own a piece of his original art work, a prized possession bought for a song. One of his “Blackout Poems” hangs in my living room, perpetually intriguing. Most of my guests admire it, though a police officer—called to respond to a break in—did not seem to care for it. My niece Samantha, who recently visited, apparently saw something of herself in its expression of the desire for impetuous recklessness.

The book is called Daily Rituals, an expansion of a blog by Mason Currey (a blog becoming a book: intriguing). In it, Currey outlines the day-to-day schedules of some of the most revered artists and thinkers.

I am an inveterate scheduler myself, keeping no fewer than four calendars. A friend once confessed he had three. I said, “Sounds like you forgot to count the one in the kitchen!”

How reassuring to be reminded all people who accomplished great things were still, fundamentally, people, meaning they ate breakfast and had to bathe and dress and visit their mom. The quotidian increases unity; we all must live day to day.

Daily Rituals underscores the importance of reserving space on the calendar for artistic endeavors, whether writing or any other form of self-expression. The book also reveals the crucial importance of consistency for all who succeed in creating meaningful work (artistic or otherwise). The need for a productive routine ought to be reinforced.

Artists want to work; they want to devote time to their craft, often to the detriment of everything else. A musician friend of mine pointed out that I’d never play guitar really well because I have too far many friends and social obligations. When it comes to music, I really am best left as an enthusiast.

We can all act as conduits for inspiration, perpetually sharing new discoveries. I marvel at people’s abilities, particularly the stamina and determination of innovators who worked in and through difficult circumstances.

I contemplate the city of Chicago, my home, overflowing with imagination. When I take a moment to admire my city, from out on the lake especially, looking back at the spectacular skyline filled with skyscrapers of every silhouette, I reflect upon its hidden beauty: all of it was made by people: architects, engineers, designers, craftsmen, artists and laborers constantly creating for the past two hundred years.

Slide3

Given the time and skills and resources and determination, people can build remarkable, stunning, incredible things. The shared human experience that infuses life and art ought to amazes us all.

Look closely, and creativity reveals itself to be a fundamental part of everyday life; admire the perfectly set table and consider who laid your place with such care, perhaps it was even you.

Take the time each day to be inspired, and inspire.

Advertisements

By Tricia Lunt, English Faculty

Recently, a new “100 Days” project emerged; this one labeled The Great Discontent and a product of an inquiry begun by artist Ella Luna. A few of my friends joined the plan to make something for 100 days in a row and post the results to a selected social media platform. Always eager to be more creative in my daily life, I elected to begin a “100 Days” project, too.

The “100 Days” project runs from Monday, April 6 through Tuesday, July 14, 2015. Beginning a project on April 6th seemed particularly fascinating, as it was the day after Easter, the traditional conclusion of Lent. No matter what our beliefs (or lack thereof), human beings crave ritual.

finish-each-day-and-be-done-with-itMany of my artistic friends selected drawing for 100 days, but I turn to words when inclined to create. Words are my touchstone. When sad, or lonely, or confused, or feeling powerless, I read and write. While casting about, trying to imagine what I’d like to work on for 100 days, I considered a variety of writerly exercises, including 100 days of metaphors, but that plan transformed.

Ultimately, I decided to curate a collection of good advice; thus, my project is on Instagram with the label #100DaysofGoodAdvice.

My selection of “Good Advice” highlights two fundamental questions: what does advice entail, and how and when might it be considered good?

Defining words requires traversing a complex landscape of meaning while maintaining a keen awareness of implication. Advice suggests a useful approach to life. In order for it to be good, it must be purposeful. All advice remains dependent on situational factors, an eloquent answer may be wrong as often as it is right. At this point I am reminded of Heraclitus’ proclamation, “workoutYou cannot step into the same river twice.” Despite these challenges of connotation and relevance, after a full fifteen days, I’m thrilled with the results.

I have to make the conscious effort to find and select a new piece of good advice each day, attempting, when I can, to connect the events of my day with some larger perception, as when I spent a weekend visiting a longtime friend, and I was reminded of the eminently useful bit of wisdom I learned in a song from Girl Scouts, “make new friends, but keep the old (one is silver and the other gold).”

Collecting good advice also requires acknowledging the meaningful encounter, as when I happened upon this empowering idea outside a health club on North Avenue. Honestly, I can’t imagine a better way to perceive my work out routine.

Another wonderful thing about the words and phrases embodying good advice is that the thoughts contained are largely positive, hopeful, which may simply be a reflection of my optimistic sensibility. Knowing that is good, too.

Awareness and intention are essential, and responding to the call to be inspired may be the best any of us can do to remain vibrantly alive.

Imagine That

Posted: October 15, 2014 in Uncategorized
Tags: , ,

By Tricia Lunt, English FacultyCreate

These last four weeks (coinciding with the beginning of this term), I’ve failed to make space for creativity in my life; my work as a teacher has claimed the bulk of my time and energy. This is problematic in several ways, and ironic in at least one: I am currently teaching two “Creative Expression” classes, yet have found little time to do so.

This is a challenge most people face. Listening to our inner creative voice can be difficult amidst the thunderous din of life’s demands, but we ought to listen, and respond.Cool!

Creativity is essential to productivity, so while I am busy being “industrious,” I would be more so if I took the time to create (as I am doing now, grading be damned). Hence, this blog, and countless others, exists. Yes, to communicate, but also to create something where once nothing was. Hence the fancy cookery flourishing in kitchens of extremely busy people (you gotta eat). Hence the whole expansive world of imaginative Lego landscapes, constructed by young and old.

Though I do not make my living through the creative arts, I practice creative endeavors to connect more fully with life, through writing and dance and art. Countless extraordinary people I love work to make time for creativity in their lives: gardening, baking, crocheting, sewing, designing, painting, crafting, sculpting, acting, playing and singing: a river of dynamic energy overflowing its banks, nourishing us all.

The struggle to create is an essential part of living, of fulfilling the promise of lifelong learning, of evolving and realizing how many vistas remain in the distance, beckoning us to keep moving forward. Undertaking an artistic journey is particularly compelling, especially when it becomes all too clear that life really is what we make it.