On Creativity And Inspiration

I’ve noticed in the past couple weeks how creatively dull this semester has felt, particularly regarding this blog. I had chalked it up to being busy: “I don’t have time to do homework and blog and keep up with the details of life!” Ah, but I still have time that I kill, regularly.

So I started wondering: what gives? What is it about this semester that makes it feel the way it does?

Last week I got my much anticipated copy of On The Edge of the Dark Sea Of Darkness in the mail, and, well, indulged. I permitted myself the luxury of spending a piece of my evening (in reality, four+ hours) ignoring school work and sleep, immersing myself in the story. (I just can’t seem to stay away from something that has such a seriously goofy title, by one of my favorite artists, with a subtitle that reads: “Adventure. Peril. Lost jewels. And the Fearsome Toothy Cows of Skree.”)

Then I realized some of what I was missing: inspiration. Creative input, artistic brain food, whatever you want to call it. For me, that is something I generally get from reading excellent books. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been do a lot of reading this semester – reading about management and team building and statistics and building things with CAD. Stuff that is really pretty creative in practice (maybe excepting statistics), but not much that really inspires in textbook form.

I hadn’t been reading for the sake of reading, to enjoy the existence of a good book.

There must be a balance. Too often I try to read things because I think I should, or because it’s useful, it’s related to something I’m interested in or is supplemental to an interesting topic from a class. But, many times, that’s more taxing than it is helpful, and what I need most is a break from trying to remember useful information. I need to take time away from the every day tasks, I need to spend time enjoying and admiring creation in the work of others, to be refreshed and inspired. Shards of reality often are more clearly seen encapsulated in myth than in daily life; the creation, more often than not, reflects glimpses of the Creator.

And it’s inspiring. (I keep using that word. It really does mean what I think it means.)