Imagination needs moodling - long, inefficient, happy idling, dawdling and puttering - Brenda Ueland
>> 26 January 2009
In a recent post, I talked about my year of white pages and my process of trying to fill them with daily creativity.
Yesterday I had a bad conscience because I was 3 pages late. And I knew that the more I procrastinated, the worse things would become and the more guilty I would feel.
So there I sat, completely devoid of inspiration, desperately looking for something to fill at least a page with (I would deal with the other two later).
I had received a baby announcement card from a cousin of mine which had a little bear on it. So I just started drawing and coloring this bear into my book. The result was horrifying.
My left brain, the one that still had my to do list blinking, the one that was listening to the tv downstairs, the one that thinks in details instead of the whole picture, the one that knew I was going to fail, was still very very active. (see right brain versus left brain characteristics and do the test here).
I was courageous enough to turn the page and let the horrible bear be.
On my desk lingered a photo of me which I did not like and was going to throw away. Instead I cut out part of the photo, glued it in the book and started doodling around it. The result was still no art, but I was slowly switching off from the world around me.
On page 3, and catching up on my delay, I wrote a title of what we had been doing that day 'A walk in the woods' and little things popped up: little red boots of my son, leaves, a blue bonnet, my camera, footsteps. And my right brain was on a train.
Looking at it now, it is still nothing to write home about, but it taught me two things:
- Even when you're not in the mood, mind, setting or atmosphere to be creative, the simple fact to just start doing something in that direction (or as Brenda Ueland puts it, moodling: idling, dawdling, puttering), gets the creative juices flowing.
- Even if the result is still of meager artistic value, you might be able to take away a little idea that can be combined to another one you considered useless, thus creating something better, and better, and better...
Brenda Ueland books:
- If you want to write: A book about Art, Independence and Spirit
- Strength to your sword Arm: selected writings of which you can read a summarized extract here