Finding Creativity and Imagery
By Shaun Dollins
There was an idea and discussion I had with Cyndi, my wife, which seemed to stick. She told me that in order to be creative, I must think creative. Find associations to people, places, and things that are out of the loop of being normal.
You see, I've been struggling to get out a simple poem let alone some of my own blogging. The ideas and thoughts about my writing concepts have been just going blank. Call it an inactive muse if you will, but I think it's much more than some made up fairy that tells an author what to write. I think in some ways, our own creativity and the ability to grasp odd imagery comes from life experiences and how we see the associations from one thing to another. I'm a communications design engineer by trade, and I find it a little hard to associate some imagery and creativity with squiggly lines all over a map, or the endless numbers and information I find within the database's software. It's a little hard to find imagery in fiber optics that people will understand and get the meaning I could try for. But I'm finding that it's not my specific job functions that I can find creative beginnings or understandings. It's with the people I work with, my family, friends, and whoever I come into contact with. It's looking at something during my commute to work, and while it may seem normal, find a way to make it spectacular.
Here are a couple of examples:
Not long ago on our way into work, a beat up work truck with ladders all over the top passes us on the freeway. That's pretty normal and nothing to concern more time with. However, it was the little details that caught the interest of Cyndi and a conversation that followed. You see, a taillight had been busted and they fixed it. Normally, you'd see some type of plastic covering or red tape over the gaping hole to keep the light underneath from blinding the driver behind them. But, with our truckload of workers, they had to come up with something a little more creative. They cut the plastic label off of a Coca-Cola 2 liter bottle and duct taped it over the hole. The label was faded, but you could still make out the words and logo. We laughed at the redneck ingenuity, however, it immediately sparked an idea within a story that I've wanted to write. It could be something big, or something little in the story.
Who knows, it could even be a part of the climax within my own imaginary world of writing. It's something as small as someone's make-shift fix for a broken taillight that can spark a maelstrom of possibilities and associations. It doesn't have to be within a story, but maybe a poem. It seems that in the South, there are a lot of instances that will create a thought or image of something stimulating to the creative mind.
A while back, we were heading to lunch with my in-laws. When I sat down in the cream leather captain's chair of the minivan, noticed a bug on the floor making way for my foot. I stepped on the bug and smeared it into the carpet. When Cyndi asked what happened to the minivan invader, I replied "He was killed and quickly reincarnated into carpet." I didn't happen to think about what I was saying at the time, but the combination of bug and carpet just came together like this.
Have you ever had a family member who would make strange, yet hilarious associations in a quote about life? What were some of them and could you use it in a story?
Take a look at some successful musicians, novelists, and cartoonists. I'm sure you'll find associations of the abnormal. No matter how strange some of the imagery associations may be, they click within the reader's mind and it makes sense. Take a quote from C.S. Lewis.
It may be hard for an egg to turn into a bird: it would be a jolly sight harder for it to learn to fly while remaining an egg. We are like eggs at present. And you cannot go on indefinitely being just an ordinary, decent egg. We must be hatched or go bad. ~ C. S. Lewis
I don't know about you, but the thought of an egg in flight is rather humorous. The message behind what he said impacts a person's mind not by what is said, but how the words paint a picture in the mind. Maybe years later, a person will remember this quote and the impacting meaning all because of the funny image the person received.
It all comes down to allowing our minds to think differently and wildly. In my experience, creativity comes when we push aside our normal living habits and thoughts, while still participating in our hum-drum activities. It comes from reading stories by other authors and listening to what one may have to say. Movies can give you ideas in a visual overload, but sometimes, to me, movies and TV shows rob us of our own artistic ability.
So, my questions to you are, how do you associate the normal into interesting and flamboyant ways of creativity? How do you find creativity and imagery?
Like a monkey stealing a soldier's last MRE, I'm leaving you to your own thoughts.
He lives in the Atlanta, GA area and commutes to work everyday. Shaun is also a newsletter author for http://www.Writing.Com/.