So there I was in a coffee shop with my day planner, my goals list,
my computer, my year's evaluations, my hopes and my dreads...
to plan a new year. And a best bud to help make sense of the
questions...something had to give to make room for...?
It's a process I usually enjoy. For years I have gotten a certain satisfaction in reviewing the year past and setting goals and routines, however flexible, for the new one. Blank calendars hold such promise. But lately I have been adding and adding and adding....and, well, something's gotta give.
In frustration I laid down my pen and sighed, "Guess I just have to give up chasing shiny objects."
(Call it dabbling, call it distraction, call it crafty fun but I have a well earned reputation for going off on tangents.....)
...which doesn't even count the days spent felting, fermenting, canning, or trying pottery.
My very wise friend looked at me over her glasses and replied calmly, "But, my dear, THAT is who you are."
BIG MAGIC to the rescue. The book that is.
Not having solved my scheduling problems, I picked up my copy of Elizabeth Gilbert's book and randomly turned to page 253 where she references "combinatory play." (You know the adage that you get certain info when you really need it? Well, obviously I had read this before but now I really needed it.) Combinatory play is the act of combining two seemingly unrelated things often resulting in the creation of another. Or, as Gilbert puts it, "opening up one mental channel by dabbling in another." Dabbling.
Einstein used to play the violin while his subconscious worked out heavy formulas on mass and energy. I know you've read the story about Steve Jobs and his calligraphy class, but here is a review.
There is even a corporate adviser, Think Inside the Box, that professes the value of play. And if you remain unconvinced give a gander at this white paper, To Think Without Thinking. I'm getting the picture here.
If my goal for 2017 is to find new ways to express my art, develop more reliable methods of painting, and to offer up better paintings in a constant effort to improve the quality and quantity.....then I better not stop playing.
Cross pollination can be valuable, distraction can be relaxing, dabbling can occupy the hands while the hamsters run the treadmills problem solving. A day spent digging potatoes and gathering flowers eventually birthed this
a piece I love for the sheer memory of that wonderful day on a friend's farm.
So now that we are convinced that "play" is not only scientific but necessary to the development of creativity, how do you plan to play in 2017? I know that I certainly intend to continue chasing shiny objects....but time on the calendar? hmmm, I think it is obvious that cooking and cleaning be eliminated to make way for creative break throughs. You?
In Combinatory Color,
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