Differently Creative

I’ve never been the neatest person in the world. My room used to horrify my mom, who is a very neat person.

“Clean your room!” she’d tell me every once in a while, especially when guests were due to arrive. Or she’d say, “Clean that closet.” The closet was where I stowed a number of projects birthed through my imagination.

This is my desk at home.

    

Those of you who are neat might be ready to crawl up a wall at the sight of it. Heh heh. Sorry about that. Whenever I’ve worked full-time in an office—usually at a publisher or book packager—my desk was usually the messiest. Piles of books, files, and knickknacks lived on my desk. Many of my neater coworkers had that crawling-up-the wall reaction whenever they looked at my desk. But whenever a supervisor or coworker asked me for anything—a book for a quote; the address of a writer we hired for a project; whatever—I could produce it just like that.

On the day before important clients were due to visit, one of my supervisors would declare a cleanup day. (Are you sensing a pattern here? Yep? Just like Mom.) I would have to return books to the office library and dump my knickknacks in a convenient drawer—only to pull them back out when the clients left.

There’s a method to my messiness. You see, I’ve often had to work under extremely tight deadlines. Like having to produce a book in a month. All of the resources required for the project needed to be at hand. That way, I could do the job quickly, without having to get up and constantly search for whatever was needed.

As a freelancer, I’ve had to juggle multiple projects also. Which usually means stopping one project and starting another, before returning to the first project. Which also means more and more things get piled up on my desk (like the sharks I’m crocheting [see below], which are on top of my writing journal).

Another aspect to my cluttered desk is my love of color. Cheerful, colorful objects always make me feel better. Which is why I love daisies, especially Gerbera daisies.

   

A number of people have asked me over the years, “Why can’t you keep your desk neat?” My answer to them is, “Does it really have to be?”

A piled-up desk is not the image I usually see in magazine articles featuring a writer’s workspace. I usually see beautiful wooden desks with everything in its place. But what you see in this post is my space. I don’t want to pretend that it’s different from what I’ve shown here.

The bin of DVDs and blu-rays (and the occasional skein of yarn) that sits next to my desk

I don’t think of myself as more or less creative than someone with a pristine desk. I think of myself as “differently creative.”

How about you? What does your creative space look like? Is it messy? Neat? In between?

Photos by L. Marie with the exception of the gerbera daisy image, which came from freeimages.com, and the Tyra Banks finger snap gif, which came from pic2fly.com.

When the River Runs Dry

Ever have one of those weeks where you felt drained dry, as if you couldn’t put two words together to form a sentence? This week is like that for me. But suddenly I’m thinking of a few two-word sentences:

Help me.
I can’t.
Do it!

And if you put those together, that’s the message running through my head this week. Some of you can relate. I’ve read your blogs (Kate and Victoria). And I’m here, looking at rocks instead of water. Whenever I’m worried about deadlines or problems, I find myself here.

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So, instead of heeding the siren call of Harvest Moon: The Tale of Two Towns, I decided to remind myself of the beauty in the world. I’m often inspired by images. Unfortunately, I don’t have a camera (at least not yet), so I’m grateful for the good ol’ Internet.

Here’s what I found (and why):

beautiful_male-cardinal

I chose this image, because the cardinal is my favorite bird. I’m sure I mentioned that before. (Andy of City Jackdaw likes jackdaws; I like cardinals.) A family of cardinals nests in a tree near my home. I often see the male flitting about, especially near my car. One day he hopped over to my window and serenaded me. The little flirt!

cumulus-clouds

Two nights ago, I had dinner with three old friends. Our continued camaraderie is a thing of beauty in itself. But when we left the restaurant, I was struck by the beauty of the sky—a bundle of clouds sprawled across the still blue sky. The sky looked so huge, and reminded me that the world is so much bigger than my problems.

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Kids are exasperating and demanding at times, but ultimately are endearing. If you want a laugh, have a conversation with a child (especially those in my family). They look at the world in such a fresh way. I’m grateful for the kids in my life. My nephew sometimes shoves one of his ear buds in my ear to listen to a song on his iPod. He also makes me laugh when he finds weird videos on YouTube.

A friend has a daughter who thinks all of the world’s ills can be solved if everyone sat in her playroom and drank cups of her imaginary tea. I love the fact that she tells me the tea isn’t real, in case I’m disappointed by the lack of moisture in my cup.

Kids remind me that the words I place on a page need to be whimsical and lively to reflect their view of the world. They also need to be real.

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If ever something exemplified joy, a gerbera daisy does. Look at that. You can almost imagine a smile on its face.

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If you’ve had this flavor, I don’t have to explain why I included it. You just know, right? I thought so.

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I didn’t say I wouldn’t include fictional characters. If you don’t know who this is, click here. As Austin Powers would say, “Yeah, baby, yeah!”

If you click on Victoria’s name above, you can read the awesome advice she provides for those who are going through a dry period. And I suggest you click on Kate’s name, because I love her profile picture. If any of you would like to share what inspires you, please comment below. And may the river of inspiration run for us all.

Images from en.wikipedia.org; wallpaperswala.com; bhg.com; mayorshealthline.wordpress.com; fanpop.com respectively.