Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Thanksgiving and the Undefeated Spirit of Creativity

Just about every leaf has drifted down from the highest branches and floated to the lawn. We finally dumped the last of our hanging baskets. The garden has been put to bed for the winter. Our neighbors on both sides finished their Christmas decorating last week. Because the weather is beautiful and relatively warm, I understand their sense of urgency. Being able to put up the festive banners and wreaths and garlands without wearing five layers, a hat, a scarf, and ski gloves is a miracle. I think we will take advantage of this lull in the advance of arctic freeze to jump in with our holiday designs.

Creativity seems to be the one unstoppable devotion of the human heart. I say that because when all else fails, relying on creativity redeems any flagging spirit. Having "suffered" (and that is such a silly word to use -- no real suffering here) with a lingering cold that zapped all my energy for the last month, I am here to say that creativity saved me.

First of all, I've been participating in NaNoWriMo -- the whacky game of writing a 50,000 word novel in one month. For a short version of how this started -- two guys in a bar challenging themselves to finally "write the novel" they always said they would, and do it in One Month. Putting their money (well, no money is involved really) where their mouths whined. And the movement has spread from those two to thousands of people writing furiously for one month.

I've had various levels of success at this endeavor, but haven't ever finished a novel. November is not an easy month. In the past, Geoff and Carrie were coming for dinner and the end of the semester is less than 10 school days away. I'm usually more than unfocused on writing. But this year none of that seemed to matter. Geoff and Carrie visited back in October and I've tried (valiantly at times -- patting myself on the back -- ha ha) to keep up with my courses so that I'm not frantic at the end. This year, I swore that I would finish!

Ah... the best laid plans. The flu -- or was it just the Worst. Cold. Ever??? I missed two school days, which is a record for me. I usually show up even when I'm coughing like a vintage jalopy. I don't like reorganizing my syllabus. Ugh. And... to make matters worse.... it was during Hamlet. I love Hamlet. It could be such fun! Oh well.

Even with the flu, I continued to write. I kept pace with the prescribed number of daily words that would get me to my goal. That would be 1,667 per day. And I was chugging along. But then.... I had The Relapse. I began to fade. Still, the novel won't die. I dream about it, scribble notes on napkins, and think about those silly characters when I'm doing the dishes or driving to work or soaping up my armpits for a shave. Ha!

Creativity really does save the soul. My plan this year was a daily four-pronged attack: doing The Artist's Way Morning Pages, following my Weight Watchers Points, exercising, and writing my 1,667 words. I've succeeded in continuing the morning pages and I fluctuate with the number of words -- sometimes less, sometimes more. But I've flagged on the eating and exercising. Still, I haven't lost heart.

I'm chugging toward my goal and looking forward to even more venues of creativity. Starting with holiday decorating, continuing with holiday baking, holiday crafts, and even more writing. My studio whispers to me, "Come back! Come back!" And I know I'll have a month off to sew and create Christmas Tags and play with all my ideas, including More Writing.

For what am I thankful this Thanksgiving? For creativity. For writing every day. For creating a warm and welcoming home. For creating dreams and goals that open my soul to more and more possibilities. For creativity -- which is the life force that sustains me and renders me whole and fulfilled.

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