I’ve just finished reading A man without country by Kurt Vonnegut. I’d love to quote the whole book, but that’d be plagiarism, so here’s a quote on creating that stood out for me:
Go into the arts. I’m not kidding. The arts are not a way to make a living. They are a very human way of making life more bearable. Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven’s sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possibly can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something.
This got me thinking: how many of us create stuff in adulthood?
In an industrialised world it is the norm to consume rather than create.
Take me for example.
I don’t grow things. Neither do I sew. Or make art for that matter. Not even any crafts. Nope, no singing either (I’m tone deaf).
I do make a lot of my own food, though. Create recipes, yes. And I write.
Oh, and I LOVE to dance, but I haven’t done much of that lately. (Perhaps that’s the missing ingredient? Better get onto that, Bollywood style, of course.)
But the balance is askew. I consume much more than I create. Which, I hazard a guess, is the reason why many of us feel lost or empty.
The soul needs to grow. But it needs the right food to grow. Creating is it.
So I’ve been inviting the idea of sewing. Very basic things, like simple skirts. And growing things to eat. The easy stuff, like salad greens and silverbeet. And some daffodils, too, for decorating the home (inspired by a dear friend).
These ideas need to percolate, though, and seep into the cracks of my brain before I feel ready enough to begin. Starting little by little, fitting it in bit by bit. Otherwise, they will never happen, no? (I think I’ll start with the daffodils first.)
Kurt Vonnegut in the chapter “I’ve been called a luddite” (incidentally, my favourite in the book) illustrates with his stories how technology has taken away creative work that has given many people purpose and becoming.
Technology is helpful, yes, but it’s up to us to use it intelligently and mindfully, leaving plenty of mental and physical space to create.
So, let’s not forget to create for soul’s sake.
What do you create or wish to create?