Creativity Blossoms

vinhorneflowerI’m mentally back on the creative process and you know what that means.

The creative process is not a thing reserved for a select few who convert their first names to initials and write about wizards. It’s a thing that we all have access to and use in many different ways.

How it blooms depends on each of our unique seeds. Where we plant it, how we water it, how we sun it, how we fertilize it also matter. We can amp it up or turn it down, but it’s there for all of us to play with.

This past weekend I was doing one of those things I love most–talking with people and getting to know some friends of friends. It had been a full weekend in Austin with wedding festivities and touristy things. This was Day 3, Sunday brunch out on a patio overlooking the beautiful Austin hill country with a lake in the distance. We got on the subject of creativity which came after that question you know I always get. Wait for it.

“What books have you written that we can read?” There it is, followed by “I hate writing.”

But then the man talked about a class he and his wife had taken. He was surprised he liked it, but found it a great creative outlet where he didn’t usually get a chance to dabble in his more technical job. The class was called “Painting and Merlot” or something like that and the concept was each person got a canvas, a prompt, and a glass of wine. The man said as they all began to paint their “trees” each very unique painting became more and more beautiful as they drank.

First of all, I want to take this class. Next, I wondered, “What is it about the alcohol (substitute chocolate, food, etc.) that helps the creator become more creative?”

There is obviously a trend here if we look at all our creative types lost to addictions of various types. I remember hearing a guy say the best thing you can do for your art is to drink. I remember another one saying that was a horrible thing to say. I guess my curiosity lies more in the question of the “why.” Why does it take shifting the chemicals in our brain in some way to let the creative process open up?

I think it’s because of the Gremlin. That inner voice that mocks whatever it is that is being created. The one that shouts out, “Really? You just published that blog with all those freakin’ ass mistakes? You used “are” instead of “our?” Pretty ballsy, aren’t you?” or “That’s a tree?”

But here’s the thing. We don’t create to be perfect and put out perfect product. We create because it nurtures our soul. We create because it’s part of our natural process that yearns to be activated. We create because there is something that is so uniquely us that it is meant to be shared with the world.

It’s really just part of our job here to go forth and create.Through this process, we blossom. On that note, if anybody finds that “Paint and Merlot” class, sign me up! I’m in the mood to paint a tree.

What’s a Good Name for A Serial Killer?

nameI wonder if all writers have such a hard time naming their serial killers.

Can’t use the real name, can you? I’d really rather do that, because my novel is based on a particular one (my babysitter, actually, which is a pretty freaking weird feeling), but there are rules against that, I think.

I start thinking of names close to that original, but they all turn out sounding like church pastors or second grade teachers. I run down the list of people I don’t like that much, but that seems risky. I try to intuit it, but this is one area my intuition just goes, “Got nothin’.”

Next tactic: I ask other people in my immediate circle. My husband and I get a good laugh about last names like Killmore and Youngblood, but this is obviously too distracting and only really works for our own entertainment on our morning walk with the dog. I check with my mom who is a voracious reader and thoroughly excited by her discovery that she can buy 4 “pocket” books for a dollar down at the senior book club. She’s not sure either.

I start alliterating: Derek Durtz. Um…no. Nobody wants a serial killer with an alliterated name.

I pull up a list of ten serial killers and settle on one until I remember someone else who I really like with that name and don’t want to make their name into a serial killer name (even though the real live serial killer already did that if that makes any sense.)

I try to channel the writers of “24” because they’re AWESOME with names. Think about bars they might hang at in LA where I could go lurk and listen into their conversations over a porter and maybe they’d just bring it up. It could happen.

Sigh. Am I alone out here? Anybody got a great name for my real life babysitter serial killer?