Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Out of control

Trolling for an idea for my entry this week, I reread John’s from last week. As Vicki would say, the creative juices started flowing.

But then I stopped. What are creative juices and where the heck can we find them?

I have this theory that creativity has a connection with one’s “dream state”, meaning that dreams and creative ideas both spring from the same place.

Case in point: several times I’ve come up with solutions to plot conundrums just at that point where my mind starts to wander a bit as I’m falling asleep. Of course, this is rather disruptive to my evening rest, because I learned early on that if I don’t get up immediately to write it down, I run the very great risk of getting up the next morning, knowing that I had my problem licked, but also knowing that my night’s rest had wiped away the memory of whatever it was.

So maybe the real well-spring of creativity is found by allowing one’s mind to spin loose. How many times have we realized something startling about our novels-in-progress when we’re out walking, driving to work, daydreaming on the sofa, or drifting off to sleep? I find that the more I actively think about the solution to a plot problem, the more that solution remains elusive. The best way to find it is not to think about it!

As a composer of music, I know the same thing happens in that creative endeavor. I’ll be walking over to the grocery store, for instance, and realize that a song idea or a terrific melody has just popped into my head. I wasn’t sitting at the piano in “composition mode”, waiting for that great idea to strike. I’ve never been able to do that. I'm probably not even thinking about music when it happens.

It’s the same thing with writing. I’m always astounded by what percolates to the surface when I’m far away from the computer or my journal.

I now carry a pocket recorder. It’s also on my bedside table at night. My wife has taken to wearing earplugs to bed. She says it’s because of my snoring, but I know better...


John Corrigan said...

Rick, Great piece. I often wake in the middle of the night with an idea that I do not write down, and then kick myself in the morning.

Rick Blechta said...


We're not the only ones, John. We're not the only ones...

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