Saturday, March 31, 2012

Because

It's a bit of madness, creativity is. It's the kind of thing that makes you spend 3 hours on a rainy Friday afternoon trying to knit with foodstuffs for the pure enjoyment of it. You catch yourself ramming your head against a problem repeatedly, clock ticking, heart beating a little faster, fingers dripping with olive oil and reeking of onions - and enjoying it. For what? For nothing, really. And for everything. For taking your ideas and making them live, for seeing if it can be done, for trying something you've never done before, for using the element of us that is divine - the ability to create.

Somewhere along the line, some people learn to say I'm not creative because their own breed of creativity doesn't match what they see as the "right" kind, or because someone told them that, or because they tried something once and failed, or because, because, because... Sometimes I think it's because the madness is frightening. Because you do end up spending the afternoon with skewers, chopsticks, knitting needles and mutilated vegetables and the all-important question of life and death becomes "How can I weave in the ends of this spaghetti without breaking it?" And then because sometimes you discover after all of your effort, you can't. Not today, not with the materials you have, and you chuck it in the compost and go back to that first square and start again.

For what? For itself. That's what. But it's a bit of madness. It's irresponsible, it's unproductive, it's unprofitable, it's impractical. This bit of madness has changed the face of civilization repeatedly for millennia. Because somebody looked at the mold on bread and wondered about its properties, we can treat illnesses that used to kill. Because someone wondered if they could fly and crashed and crashed and crashed and then flew. Because somebody wondered why apples fall from trees, we now have vehicles that go into space. Because.

I'm not a Fleming, or a Wright, or a Newton. My dressing up a fish hasn't changed the face of civilization. I will likely pass into oblivion when I go, not to be studied by school children who would dress up in overlarge jeans with holes and muss up their hair so as to impersonate me on "biography day" at school. But I would argue for the civilizing effects of dressing up a fish.

 Because I met so many new people this week that I would not have otherwise: fishermen, shop keepers, artists, authors, actors, impersonators. I wandered parts of my city that I usually overlook. Because I spent a lovely afternoon with my daughter and my friend, basking in this small segment of our community who come together once a year out of a love of books and and food. Because I discovered that leeks knit better than green onions. A sole is related to a halibut. Cilantro doesn't knit at all. Crochet with noodles is easier than knitting. Because I gave away my sole to a strange man in impossible cowboy boots. Because I get to end my day with the reinforcement of faith that people are basically nice and strange and encouraging and unique and creative and I am part of that. You are part of that. Because.

Just because. "Knitted Comforts for the Sole"


23 comments:

  1. There's something wonderfully life-affirming about creating. It reminds us that we're more than the laundry and the paycheck and the days until retirement. Connecting with the community has a similar impact. You got a magical double dose of goodness.

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  2. This is awesome! I pictured a trout in a spaghetti sweater when I was reading... but this is so much better!

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    1. That is what I pictured initially, too. But the spaghetti wouldn't cooperate.

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  3. That just brought a huge smile to my face. What better way to spend a day and what a beautiful creation!

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    1. Thank you. It was great fun for so many reasons. Glad I could provide some smiles.

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  4. I just spent about ten minutes studying this picture to try and see how all the food you mentioned fit in, and it just seems to be a perfectly average sole wearing a hat–very natural, really. Congrats.

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    1. Well, I had to give up on most of the food. I got the leeks to knit, but they slowly turned into a slimy green mess and the spaghetti dried out and broke. Alas, I discovered that yarn knits best. The rules of the contest stipulate that the piece must be 70% edible, so I went with the yarn. Oddly, no one wanted to eat mine at the contest.

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  5. So ... I am now wondering if this is just a dream, I will swing by later today and see if this story and my comment are "here".

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    1. They are both very much "here", my dear!

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  6. Love it! I agree as well - people ARE basically nice and encouraging and supportive and creative. When I see that in the people around me, all is well. Creative pursuits often do feel like a waste of time - as in, what value is yet another painting or a blog post? Does it make the world any better? I don't know but I know it doesn't pay the bills....I also know that , as Word Nerd noted, creating is so damn life affirming. I smile, I feel happy and THAT makes the world better. Ripples and all, you know?

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    1. Yes, ripples. I know in my small world, everyone's world is better if Mama is given the space to create.

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  7. This is lovely. It states the obscure objective of creativity perfectly.

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    1. Wow, thanks! I'm glad you got what I was getting at.

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  8. Creating is so important. I get frustrated by those who, like you said, claim to not be creative. It takes courage to try something new and put aside the fears of criticism and comparison. But, we have to do it, because we all have the ability to create something.

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    1. I know! I think it is squandering something that is uniquely human to just say "I'm not", when clearly, we all are.

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    2. Gosh, I hear myself say all the time that I'm not creative. Hm. Perhaps I should re-evaluate that to avoid frustrating people who understand creativity differently than I do. And maybe a little to embrace something I'm not all that "in touch with" yet.

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  9. It's hard to say what I love more, Lou. The rightness you have captured about the creative spark, the madness of it being the beginning of everything--everything--or the thought of you, knitting the hat for this fish which is ridiculous and wonderful and strange--in the best way--or the line where you say that you gave away your sole to the man in the impossible cowboy boots.

    Well done. (Your post. Not your. . . sole.)

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    1. Ha! I believe you would have liked the man in the impossible cowboy boots. He was quite enamored of my sole. He took the hat and the scarf, too. It was the most ridiculous and wonderful and strange and perfect ending to such a day. I told him: "Thank you for taking my sole" and he said "You're not the first woman to say that to me. It usually doesn't end well." I laughed and said, "Well, this time it will end in grilled fish."

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  10. "But I would argue for the civilizing effects of dressing up a fish." I totally got your back in that argument. ;)

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  11. I had to laugh at the picture of the dressed fish.. I think everyone needs a bit of "creative" time in their day to do whatever they deem enjoyable. I have to have some kind of ink on my hands each day for it brings me joy.

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