Staying creative

Posted: June 28, 2013 in writing life
Tags: ,

Creativity’s a funny thing. We talk about it as if it’s a limited resource, but sometimes it’s more like a chemical reaction that, once it gets going, expands and sustains itself.

Mrs K’s great-uncle recently died. I only met him a few times, but I always found him inspiring. He spent his career as a doctor, but in his spare time he was always creating – welding, gardening, inventing, picking up hobbies and crafts like a toddler picks up carpet fluff. This was a guy who, in his late eighties, invented a device for helping patients sit themselves up in hospital beds. When Mrs K and I got married, he turned a cava bottle into a vase as a present, and engraved it with the date of our wedding. He might as well have engraved it with ‘I am eighty-eight, and I am still the most awesome person here’.


Not shown: the sixty-seven other things he created that day

Uncle Charles’s creativity wasn’t a limited resource that kept running out. It was the fuel that sustained him, that kept him lively and engaged with the world until a sudden and brutal cancer took him at the age of ninety-two. Creating things spurred further creativity in him, and gave him the energy to keep going.

I suspect that the same happens, in little ways, to all of us. I know that by the time I finish one blog post I’ve come up with ideas for three more. Nothing inspires me to write like doing some writing. Creating makes me feel alive, whether it’s planting the garden, cooking an interesting dinner, or writing a story about Victorian adventurers fighting giant rats. If we horde and defend our creativity it withers. If we use it, even when getting started feels like a struggle, it will sustain us.

So here’s to you Charles, inspiring me once again. And to the rest of you, get out there and create. Make a collage. Write a poem. Draw a picture in ketchup on your fried egg sandwich. These are the things we live for.

Mm, fried egg sandwich.

  1. Sheila says:

    Lovely post, Andy. The creativity and enthusiasm for life came across strongly in the funeral yesterday, you will be glad to know. I should mention my youngest cousin reading The Elephant’s Child just the same way my uncle and my father read it to us. Call me to fill in the details if you like. By the way, he wasn’t a GP, but for most of his career, a consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist.

    • I’m glad you liked the post. You’ll have to tell me about the funeral when we see you next weekend.

      I don’t know where I got GP from. Laura even mentioned his specialty to me last week, and I still managed to forget. Maybe it was just thinking how awesome it would be to have someone like Charles as my GP. Anyway, I’ll do a quick edit now to correct it, for the sake of posterity.

  2. Andy, thank you for making the correction. With that fixed, I would like to post a link to my cousins. Looking forward to seeing you next weekend. I hope you will have time to play a game or too – sees a long time since we played a game together! Reminds me of my father’s habitual way of suggesting we play a game: “What shall I beat you at?” 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s