Instantly, I am transported to my childhood and I’m in a tent my sister and I make out of blankets, behind the couch. We are dirt poor, but only know the sheer pleasure of the morning sun on our faces and the taste of Pal Bubblegum which the McAllister kids give us when they come home from the grocery store. My sister and I get some raw yellow spaghetti from the kitchen as part of our secret snack. We break the stalk into matchsticks and place them in a small bowl. With crayons and a rocking chair, we create clouds of waxy confetti in the carpet and we are soundly punished for it afterwards. How we relish our hideout! Another favorite secret hangout is behind the stalks of giant sunflowers next door. We are young, free and alive! As we grew older, we created more sophisticated hideouts and games. We’d devise new Charlie’s Angels episodes and took turns being “Director.” Looking back, it was one of my first powerful, hands-on storytelling projects. I learned how to set up the scene, create a climax and conclusion and, most importantly, work with others (my sister and a friend of ours).
According to Clarissa Pinkola Estes, PhD, there are five stages to creativity: inspiration, concentration, organization, implementation and sustenance. She asserts, “Women who have lost one or more of these report that they “can’t think” of anything new, useful or empathic for themselves.” (Women Who Run with the Wolves).
Arguably, a place (or room) of your own, is essential for the concentration component of creativity. This does not have to be a home office, but it can be a favorite public hangout where you work on a consistent basis. Natalie Goldberg, author of Writing Down the Bones (and many other books and art), wrote in her favorite cafe for many years, culminating in several books on writing as well as her first novel. She had become such a fixture at the cafe, that people knew to leave her alone as she worked.
Where is your place for inspiration and creativity? If you don’t have one, think of the place you find yourself over and over again, to collect your thoughts, to write in your journal….to get things done.