Stimulus

To be entirely honest I have not been able to write much at all this week. I feel scatterbrained and completely disorganized. Have you ever felt like that during your creative process? You are not alone.

Everyone has a different way of functioning at their best and while some people are good at whipping up completed projects in that scatterbrained mind set, I cannot. For me, when I am in this mind set I cannot get what I want to get done. It feels like being trapped inside a sturdy bag underwater. There’s a trick lock to open the bag from the inside but the key is near a rip in the bottom and is slipping closer to the hole every time I move to get it. Why not just escape through the rip? Well, you see, there are sharks outside the bag waiting for anything that comes out of the rip, while at the top of the bag there’s a floating deck with a hole in the middle where I can climb out of the top of the bag. It’s very frustrating, more so when you’re fully aware of your own peril. This is an over exaggeration but the general image is correct.

At the same time there are so many ideas brimming behind that invisible barrier in my mind. Like the image in the paragraph above, it’s like being stuck, immobile lest a single muscle flex wrong will land you just where you do not want to be. I sat down recently in my room with no music on, no noise, just listening to the rain preceding hurricane Isaac and tried to figure out why I couldn’t just write. In looking around my room and my travel journal the realization crashed on me like waves pounding the black sand beaches in Hawaii: I was stuck, physically and mentally stuck in place.

The most creatively productive times in my life were when I was organized and  traveling around. In elementary school my parents would take my sister and I to Jamaica, on family trips, and around our area. Our backyard was a mini nature walk, with trees and grass to run and lay on and a swing and a hammock. In high school I my family went on a trip to Canada every summer and I was on Robotics team 233 (which I joined since I couldn’t have horseback riding lessons) and each year we travelled to an out of state regional competition and then the championship in Georgia. If I was not hanging out with friends I was exploring on my own. When it came time to travel away for college I was still in motion. I was shy to go out on my own so I mostly tagged along with my friends. The more I explored, the more my senses were stimulated, my desire for adventure was fed, and I learned constantly and adapted to change. All of this fed my creativity.

During this recent slump I went on an escapade in my new area to find jeans and a nice top. I have only been here a month and I had not really explored the area just yet except for a few bike rides to the park. Visiting one location with my GPS for guidance yielded a new top and a potentially comfy pair if shoes, but finding comfy jeans is metaphorical murder for me: it’s hard! Now my GPS is not a top notch, fancy dancy device but I told it to navigate to one of the department stores it had listed. On the way to said department store I stumbled – as much as you can driving – upon the mall not far from my new place. I think I had been to this mall once before and a few years ago but I had no idea it was so close. Considering the way both the mall and my place were situated we were tucked away in our own little part of the area. Outside and around the mall there were a plethora of shops that I would usually find in the same area only across the state where I’d lived before college. It was the first mall I’d ever been inside where you enter on the second floor and could pay to skate at an ice rink inside. Finding this new place excited me so much that I did a lap and a half on each floor just grinning and swinging my umbrella before I noticed my stomach was demanding food. The quest for food lead me to finding a wonderful Thai place in the food court that I would like to try again.

Back in my room contemplating this adventure I decided that this was it. I was fed up of the bare routine of going to the gym, going to work, then coming home. I missed exploring. I wanted the stimulus of finding out what was in my area and places I could have fun and explore. Since that trip I have located a pretty nature bike trail I want to try on another day and park not far away called Honeymoon Island. That’s an adventure for later this week.

How does this relate to my creative process? Stimulus and marination of ideas is part of the process. Stimulus provides new ideas and a way to puzzle out what I could be stuck on, something that has worked before, and marinating ideas is like aging alcohol: there’s a certain time each needs to develop all the flavors in the brew. So while I am at my current job I will find a way to be mobile, continue learning, have fun, and keep moving towards publishing and working with horses. I will do it.

Time to slip out amongst the sharks. Don’t worry, I’ll keep the ampullae of Lorenzini in scope for defense.

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