We all have a super-power. All of us. Perhaps it’s the uncanny ability to always know precisely where your car-keys are. Or maybe you can eat Brussel Sprouts without steadily losing the will to live. Or maybe you’re Batman.
Regardless, we can all do something, with seemingly very little effort that very few others can do well.
Mine is sleeping. Anywhere. Anytime. Regardless of the natural disaster occurring. I once spent a few of the most comfortable hours of my life asleep on the shoulder of a surprisingly accomodating German woman during a delayed flight stint at the airport. I have managed to catch sleep beneath cars, during loud festivals, and once, during a landslide – all of which I slept through.
In fact, I probably wouldn’t have been aware of the landslide for a long while afterwards if a few terrified family members hadn’t woken me up afterwards to ask if I was dead.
I didn’t get this power through some chance encounter with an ancient wizard, or a lucky accident with a microwave. I am neither the offspring of a demi-god nor was I the victim of some horrifying radioactive Wiggle attack.
But rather, it is the result of my noisy upbringing that gives the uncanny ability to shut out most distractions and focus on what I’m doing.
In other words, my family is loud.
And if you don’t make enough noise in my family, there is the very real chance they might forget you were there at all
Because there is no such thing as natural silence in my home.
When is why when it comes to creating a creative atmosphere (one of our tutorial questions – which we didn’t get too much of a chance to answer), I can accomplish one with little more than a few minutes concentration and a very special sleep mask.
I’ve been made to create my own in my head for years now. Which is why it would be lovely to one day just get a small ‘quiet’ room of my own in which to just sit down and think.
I had the opportunity to experience this sort of serenity for one precious our over the weekend. Nothing particularly exciting had occurred – I just happened to be at home while everyone else was out – and a remarkable thing happened.
I sat on the couch, and accomplished as close to nothing as I could while also remaining amongst the living.
Which is strange, because I’m a naturally restless person. I find it difficult to reliably sit still for more than a few minutes at a time. Even as I sat there, imbibing the very finest daytime television had to offer,
I couldn’t help but feel slightly uncomfortable. As though my fingers missed the feel of something to keep them occupied. Which is when I realised this: I didn’t need to be creative, because at that point, I didn’t have to fight with a whole lot of external factors to make something. Perhaps I needed the noise and the busyness to energise me into creating something.
This brings me to this weeks reading on the 9 aspects of ‘Flow’ as described by Csikszentmihalyi’s theory.
I mentioned in a previous week that during the act of creating, I tend to enjoy the discovery process far more then I enjoy the finished product, or subsequent recreations of the finished product. Without the challenge of discovery, I find it difficult to engage with and complete a work. Sure, there are occasions when I may grow frustrated with a project and just give up – but more often than not, the harder the project, the more I will whittle away at it till I’m done.
Take for example, the Snail Shell Bag I will be creating for my Creative Works project. As far as I can see, coming up with the sewing pattern for recreating a snail shell will be challenging. Choosing the correct fabric – one that will render the finished product neither too tacky looking (for example, if I used brown pleather to make the shell as realistic as possible), nor too alien from the original inspiration (by simplifying the shell shape to the point where it is no longer recognisable). And finally, the problem of creating a bag that retains its circular shell shape (a difficult shape to achieve in sewing) is something that has kept me daydreaming while on the bus on my way to work. Even my random doodles have begun, in some way, to explore the possible solutions to many of the problems the bag presents.
Hopefully, I will be able to start it this week.
Another interesting aspect of this weeks reading was the Six Hat method – a massively useful tool I plan to use in another unit – Collaboration. In this unit, we are required to work in teams to come up with solutions, and this method of discussion and the development of solutions seems ideal in really coaxing out the innate creativity present in every one of my group members. So far, we’ve learnt a number of useful strategies to foster clear group communication and effectiveness, but often I’ve had a hard time moderating between the stronger members of our group, and the quieter ones. With luck, I’ll be able to use the Black/White/Green/Blue/Red/Yellow Hat method to encourage everyone to participate.
After all, six heads are better than one.
Especially if they’re all wearing really nice hats.
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