To the Abbey with my jar of seeds…

germy

After a far too eventful start to the new year, I have decided to jump ship and take up residence at the Abbey for a while. I have been missing my horse Tinker and my caravan, and the feeling of living within the embrace of nature. Lorenzo, the Gypsy King, sensing my need for renewal, sent me a message – by some alchemy of Gypsy magic (or just a boat and few hefty gypsies to row it) he has transported Tinker and the caravan back to the apple orchard at the Abbey, and suggested I sojourn there for a while.

So here I am, sitting under the apple trees and contemplating the germinator jar I found at a bazaar on White Owl Island. What is a germinator jar, you ask? Well, I love munching on sprouts and the jar is for growing sprouts to munch on, from mung beans and the like. It’s just the right size for my tiny caravan kitchen. But contemplating the jar and what it does – germinates seeds just enough to make them fresh and green and lovely for munching, packed with vitamins and goodness – has set me pondering the nature of creativity and what I can do to renew the childlike joy of creativity that just takes pleasure in making something free and beautiful.

This has been bugging me for a while. My daughter Lana loves to cook, and for a while she worked in a kitchen and considered making it her career. But then she abruptly stopped,because, she said, making her creative pleasure her work took all the pleasure out of it – and the creativity. She wanted to go on enjoying pottering around her own kitchen with the same joy she had known as a child, learning to cook at home. So she chose another career, and enjoys cooking for family and friends.

Some people, of course, can meld work and creativity with consummate skill, but in my experience, I found that working as a writer robs me of some of that simple childlike pleasure. Having to think of deadlines, having to trim my prose to suit editorial requirements, having to worry about writing enough and well enough to pay the bills – it’s a business, and even in times not as economically stressed as this, it makes creative joy a low priority.

I left a good many seeds scattered about and forgot about them as I scrambled to `justify’ my writing passion by making money from it. Now I see that I need to gather these seeds up and put them in my own creative germinator jar and see what they grow into. I need to get away from the business of writing and back to the childlike joy of simply creating, for no other reason than that I can, and that nothing crucial hangs on the outcome – and for that sense of freedom I need my little caravan, the apple orchard, and Tinker’s warm muzzle pressing into my palm (he likes sprouts as much as he likes apples).

So here I am, and while I am putting mung beans into the glass jar, I am going to be germinating some seeds in my creative jar as well. A little bit of alchemy with sprouts on the side.

Gail

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Posted on February 27, 2009, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.

  1. Loud applause from this quarter! This is one reason why Soul Food has always been a free resource Gail. If I really tried to make money out of it, if it became work the joy would evaporate. If I had to worry about deadlines and editorial requirements I would be like a butterfly pinned to a page. I am all for creative freedom. When I move I will be on permanent retreat and, like you, will just watch and see what emerges.

  2. It sounds like a perfect decision, and a great opportunity for you to spread your wings and take the flight you were meant to take. Enjoy the experience!

  3. Thanks for sharing this Gail, it is all about the joy of it, and what will be will be… i like your germinating jar (:

  4. I can so understand your post, especially the following paragraph.
    Some people, of course, can meld work and creativity with consummate skill, but in my experience, I found that working as a writer robs me of some of that simple childlike pleasure. Having to think of deadlines, having to trim my prose to suit editorial requirements, having to worry about writing enough and well enough to pay the bills – it’s a business, and even in times not as economically stressed as this, it makes creative joy a low priority.
    I’m working on number four in a series of books my contract calls for and I am feeling all of the things you describe. Writing for publication does, I truly believe, stifle the creativity. I can’t wait to get all five behind me. And while it has in some ways been a good experience, it would have been better if it had been for just one book. I have other creative paths I want to follow and fulfilling this contract is taking up way too much of my time. But, a contract is a contract so i bite the bullet so-to-speak and do the best I can despite my heart not being in it.

    Vi

  5. so well expressed. now that i’m not working as a technical writer, i am able to spend time with my creative, imaginative side. how marvelous that we have the freedom here in soul food/rookery. the only thing that limits me is how fast i can type 🙂 thank you for this post. you express so well what the rest of us feel.

  6. I think this expresses what many of us feel. I love to make things and give them to friends and family, but if someone asks me to make something for them then the pressure is on and things don’t seem to flow very freely. Your caravan sounds delightful, and you’ve set me off wanting to do sprouts. It’s ages since I sprouted things.

  7. You express the problems of the creative journey so well. It is such a complex process and other people’s demands do inhibit the flow. I’ve spent the last decade learning the same lessons and eventually got ill from the stress of it all. Now I’m seeking to reconnect with own creative seeds. I agree – going back and looking at all the ideas that got left behind is a really important part of the process. Good luck with your journey. For me the S.S.Vulcania gives me the room I need to re-ignite my creative spark. Staying at the abbey with a horse in the orchard sounds like it will be filled with wonderful creative possibilities for you.

  8. I envy you the decision, dear Gail, for I have been unable to find my way back to writing these past months. Have a wonderful time in your caravan of memory and share with us when you are ready. Fran

  9. I just want to say how much listening to and talking with all of you is heling this process. I can feel the butterfly struggling to emerge from this obsessive cocoon I have become enmired in and it is a wonderful feeling.

  10. You are so spot on, Gail. I heartily agree. I have realized that there is no market for the things I write and only a few (such as all the Ravens in the Rookery) really get it. So I am happy just to write and make art here.

  11. what a great way to express the creativity aspect and sprout germination. While I don’t write for a living, I use writing and creativity in my job to train and support hospice volunteers so they continue to want to volunteer in an area most people want nothing to do with. What manifests creativily has a lot to do with the success of the program.

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