Creativity = Courage + Uncertainty + Curiosity

Daybed with poster I've had since I was 17.
My new daybed in Applewood Schoolhouse with the poster I’ve had since I was 17. This is where I try to practice curiosity and uncertainty every day. Sometimes I feel timid. Sometimes I feel courageous.

“The creative place is the place where no one else has ever been. 

You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. 

You can’t go there by bus, only by hard work, risking, and by not quite knowing what you’re doing. 

What you’ll discover will be wonderful: yourself.” — Alan Alda

Being creative isn’t limited to disciplines practiced by artists, writers, musicians, dancers…

We have been lucky enough to have a husband-wife carpentry team who has created all types of creative projects in our home. Recently, we decided we had stubbed our toes one time too many on the baseboard of our bed. Bill dismantled the bed frame, retaining the head board only, and stored the remaining wood from the side supports and baseboard in our garage. For six months, each time I walked into the garage, I glanced over at the pieces of wood leaning against boxes and thought they could become something else. Finally, I realized they might make a nice napping/reading daybed. Steve and Miriam, our carpenters, stopped by to look at the wood and talk through the idea. At first, Steve was skeptical. He pulled out his measuring tape. He measured the wood. He wasn’t sure it would work. “Couldn’t you buy something for much less money?” he asked me. “No, I haven’t found anything that is the size I would like. And I did some of my own measuring and found the perfect “crib-sized” wool and cotton mattress (no flame retardants) that would be perfect for a small daybed,” I said. I reminded him (although he already knew) that we loved every single unusual thing they had created in our small house where we’ve made each inch count — built-in bookcases by the bay window, a cupboard with glass doors in the kitchen, rounded shelves in the laundry room that didn’t poke out too far, a narrow cupboard in the bathroom to replace the no-longer-working 1947 heater… Then I told him I wanted him to do the project if he could have fun. I didn’t want it to be a chore. Suddenly, he relaxed. His curiosity and creativity had been sparked. He and Miriam did some brainstorming. They loaded the wood into their truck.

24 hours later, look what they delivered! A perfect fit for Applewood Schoolhouse, which is now my little writing shed.

day bedHere’s another example of creativity. When we told our gardener a couple of years ago that we were ready to remove our lawn section by section (doing big projects in sections can make them less intimidating), we asked him if he would like to create the new water-wise garden. His face lit up! He went home with some pictures and ideas I had gathered. A few days later, he stopped by with a drawing. A month later, Luis’ garden design had become real. And here it is on a recent and rare rainy day.

gardenCreative people are good problem solvers. We have a plumber whose creativity we are thankful for each time we take an outdoor shower, which allows us to easily gather the water in a bucket for our garden.

All this makes me think of the doctors I’ve encountered in the last six years after a breast cancer diagnosis. This is what I’ve finally figured out. True healers need to be creative thinkers. They know that although diagnoses can be the same, each patient is unique. True healers are not arrogant; they know they are still learning. True healers know the difference between arrogance and confidence, and can say “I don’t know.”

Creative people can change the world by helping others be creative in their lives and with their lives.




Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Anti-Spam Quiz: