Wednesday, May 14, 2014

On Creativity

When life gets too crazy or stressful to allow for my usual creative outlets, the pressure builds.  All the creativity that typically gets unleashed while pondering the latest book I've read is left to erupt in bursts of imagination at odd intervals throughout the day and night.  I'll have full stories bloom in thin air: dreams that wake me up laughing, characters that start telling me their stories as I drive kids home from school.  Each stranger I see (and there are a lot in SoCal) inspires an elaborate story.  I'm not crazy, honest, I'm just a creative soul without an outlet.

This state cannot continue for long.  It's my brain's way of cluing me in that something has got to change.  The default accompaniment is a driving desire to get out of the city as soon as may be—also a signal that I need to slow down.  A change of pace is in order. Regardless of all the things that need doing, I need to make time for the basics.

Last weekend we finally got ourselves over to the Getty Museum.  It was a perfect day (other than the traffic on the 405 which is always horrid): blue skies, cool breeze, no crowds.  One of the feature exhibits right now is Jackson Pollack's Mural.  I've been wanting to see a Pollack painting in person for quite a while; I'd long ago decided this was the only way to have a proper opinion on his work.  Would it feel chaotic? elementary? inspired?

My 13yo daughter (the artist) and I walked into the room where it was hung and our breath was taken away.  Inspired.  No doubt about it. There is so much life in that painting that it kind of made me want to cry.  That is art.  That is the reaction I hope to find when I open a book.  It really doesn't look like much on screen, but when you get a little closer it is pretty incredible.

(want to know more about this painting? click here)
Also, I must say that the staff here was amazing.  They were always ready to smile and help, even approaching to compliment and engage in conversation with my kiddos. When my 13yo daughter asked one of them what it's like to stand in the same room all day, we ended up with an entertaining and informative lesson on tapestries, history, art, and people.  When we left, the lady at the exit saw my daughter and exclaimed, "Oh, I remember your beautiful blue eyes!" (Living in L.A. is often more isolated than life in a small town, and these personal interactions are not necessarily the norm. My daughter has a way of asking people questions that get them laughing and talking, but this was more than usual. Definitely a treat!)

So, I haven't been doing too much reading lately, and I've desperately wanted to escape to my beloved NorCal mountains, but I'm finding my way through.  I've been forcing myself to sleep more and reminding myself that school is almost out for summer break.  Before long, the craziness of rebuilding a huge house will be winding down, and I'll be able to breathe, to read, to write.


  1. I didn't realize you were so close to me. I just visited the Getty for the first time last year. It's lovely there, isn't it?

    1. It really was wonderful - hopefully it won't take me too long to get back there. I'm in Long Beach so the 405 is the drawback.

      What I should have mentioned was that my 9yo favored the book exhibit - they have some wonderful manuscripts on display. :)

  2. The museum sounds like heaven. My daughters and I love Pollock. My guys, not so much. I would give my eye teeth to see one of his works. As for reading, I haven't figured out if I stop reading because I'm so stressed, or I'm so stressed because I stop reading. HA! It's like the question-- which came first the chicken or the egg? I'm in the same boat--not with a remodel, thankfully--but with busy-ness. After my fil's funeral, now I have two kids graduating. Mercy!

  3. Some wonderful meditations on creativity here. I love your description of that full to near bursting feeling. And the Getty Museum stuff is cool too--hope I get there someday. Love that gobsmacked feeling that real art can give you.


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