We found our house in midwinter, a sugar topped cookie on a plate of white butter cream, number 19 on our list of showings. When we closed in late April, the daffodils were up in cliquish seclusion, the old man trees were still barren stalks, and the perimeters near the back left to interpretation. We were just discovering the masses of overgrown gardens uncovered since the melt.
That first year, we left the gardens to thrive as they had done, perennial jungles strangled by creeping charlie, clover, pink mallow and prickers. The next spring I was pregnant and digging like a mad dog trying to control the girth of nature. After the baby was born and it was spring once again, I tore apart the left side of the front walk determined to grow a place for us. Now, six years and two babies in, the yard and dirt and greens make me cringe as we pass gingerbread Victorians carefully laced and so finely coiffed.
On walks I memorize landscapes.
I find it so easy to traipse all over writing, to feel the need to squeeze words like toothpaste from a tube every second the girls give me to myself. It’s easy to forget the bigger face of the creative process–rumination.
Rumination is where ideas take hold, often while we’re focused on other tasks. This is why we hear of great thinkers taking long walks, sitting meditation and planting gardens. Our minds are terrific escape artists, able to turn the tumblers of one lock while diverting our attentions to a greater distraction. Magic.
I read once that Alice Smith writes her songs at inappropriate times, while washing dishes or cutting vegetables. Creativity is a slight of hand. A shell game.
In order to create we need to feed the mind, ruminate, chew our mental cud.
I have holes to dig and a gym membership screaming for attention. There are flowers to plant, buckets of dirt to haul and children in bad need of a chase. Few things feel as satisfying as hard physical work, writing an inspired memoir is one of them.
Tell me, how do you feed your creative mind?