I’ve always found that there’s a special satisfaction, joy, and energy to be gained in the creative process. Whether that takes the form of hands-on work with writing, photography, or video, or the considered curation of the works of others… it involves adding some form of value to the world. Applying your eye, brain, and perhaps hands to yield an artifact, or an insight… to please first you, and then perhaps others. Done well, you may bring forward a bit of grace that didn’t exist before your exertions.
I enjoy the struggle of writing even more. To conjure up words in a sequence so as to carry a thought, your thought, to others, delivered to inform, evoke, or simply shake up a reader at a later moment — what a pleasure, and what a challenge to do even half well. I’m re-committing here to practice this in these pages with much greater frequency than of late. Consider that either a warning, or a promise, depending on your views of the value of my work.
I also enjoy photography, and occasionally, videography. The DNA got passed to me from Dad, and I seemed to have delivered it forward to Richard Alexander, our son, who’s taken it up as his profession. I’m attracted to it because it combines a creative act with technology and a multi-step process, from shooting to post-production, that I seem to have some ability to execute without embarrassment, and with occasional very nice result. Some of my images can be found here.
Appreciation for the creativity of others is one of life’s great pleasures. We’re blessed to have been able to gather together some nice art pieces, which enrich everyday wanderings through our home. Here’s a place you can see some of my favorites.
I love music of all types… these days mostly streamed. You can follow me on Spotify here, if the spirit moves you.
Finally, I’m graced to have a wife who is passionate about creative living. There are fresh flowers, arranged by Ellie, always present as backdrop to a table set with fine linens, glassware, and china — every night. (Want to start an argument? Suggest a night of leftovers.) Ellie loves to cook, as the meals that emerge each evening declare in no uncertain terms. And she practices the most important creativity of all — that of bringing love and grace to the small family we’re blessed to have around us.
Some thoughts / suggestions on living a creative life:
- Play the rests
- Keep some toys around
- Maintain the ability to be in awe
- Always tip a little too much
- Create more than you consume
- Seek to delight
- Surprise your spouse, every day
- Stop, without cause, and look for a point of wonder in the scene
- Have flowers on your table, always
- Listen to the lyrics of a song you think you know well, and think about what the composer was trying to say, and why
- Make scrambled eggs to perfection
- Spend a little too much on your next bottle of wine
- Read a passage from a favorite book out loud
- Write a short poem about your first love
- Take a great photograph, and make it better using available tools
- Listen to Glenn Gould play The Goldberg Variations (1981 recording)
- Spend ten minutes trying to understand Schrödinger’s Cat
- Take out a pencil and piece of paper, and sketch your morning coffee cup
- Write a letter to your mom (even if she’s gone)
- Start keeping a journal — every day
- Read a Shakespeare play all the way through, and think about it
- Kiss your wife, like the first time that you did
- Take a chance (whatever that means to you)