Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Thoughts on Creativity

I could tell you so many different stories about our last, little trip. Natural Bridge might just be my favorite place on earth, and some of our very favorite people were there with us: my parents, Rachel's family (including her parents!), and Chel's family. Cade's friend Samwise Causey traveled with us, filling our seventh seat in the best possible way and keeping Cade company 24/7.

I could tell you about decoupaging flower pots, painting rocks, and stringing beads in the rec center; visiting with Yogi and all his friends; checking out Natural Bridge Zoo and Foamhenge; buying a crazy quilt; playing Dungeons & Dragons with the boys; racing Rachel down the water slide; waiting for what seemed like eternity for her popcorn to pop; or hanging out at the KOA with my parents.

But the story I want to tell most is about my asking Jim to drive the seven of us to Cave Mountain Lake (despite the fact that our power steering was on its way out) and about our passing this on our drive back to Jellystone:

And these things:

There was no good place to turn around, so I asked Jim to pull over and let me out. I wanted a photo of the door especially but set to photographing (real quick like) the rest, too. My heart was racing a little, standing in the middle of a road in the middle of no to the where. I was photographing someone's private property, after all, and it included a "Beware of Dog" sign and, frankly, some fairly creepy art.

The Creepiest of the Creepy Art

Then I noticed a piece of poster board attached to a pole or tree. I unfolded it and read something like this: Citizens of Rockbridge County, I'm sorry your tour has to be self-guided, but feel free to look around. The dog and cat are harmless. Mark

Upon climbing back into the minivan, I asked Jim: "Do you think this is Mark Cline's house?" 

"It doesn't look like his stuff," Jim said, and I agreed; still, the sign said Mark, and I knew Mark Cline to live in the area as a man of many talents. All of it seemed like an awfully big coincidence, in the moment. So, when I met Mark Cline a couple days later, I asked him if it were his place.

He shook his head and laughed. "Is someone moving in on my action?" he asked, and promised to drive by.

At this point, I've searched the Internet and still have no idea who created the artwork in my photos, above. But I've been thinking a lot about that Mark (not an uncommon name, after all): wondering who he is, why he creates, why he displays his artwork so far back in the woods that few are likely to see.

And I've decided he's probably a lot like I. He'd rather create than clean up his yard. (Perhaps he thinks his yard beautiful in its chaos.) He's driven to create whether anyone sees and appreciates his artwork, or not. He's just trying to make something out of nothing or a pile of junk. He's just trying to keep alive the small flame of who he is.

The most bitter, miserable people I've ever known are creative people who don't create. They hate on creative people who actually produce, and they hate on themselves. They buy into the lie that they don't have time to create, but everyone has time to create...and most of it stolen.

I don't have time to create; I don't. I don't have time to photograph, edit photos, or write. I make time. I sleep less than I should; my kitchen floor is sticky; and my kids are well-acquainted with Angelina Ballerina, Dora the Explorer, and all the rest.

Am I making the right decisions? I don't know. I mean, I think so. Jim Dear gets fired up about the state of the castle every so often, after which I tighten the reins for a minute or five. We're both glad to host a small group Bible study because things get cleaner(ish) on Mondays. But I think we both know: if I were to abandon my artistic pursuits for the sake of housekeeping, I would become fairly miserable fairly quickly. And let's get real for a hot second: what Jim really wants is warmth and willingness on my part, and he gets it.

As for the kids, I hope they'll grow up and say: "Yeah, Mom wasn't the best at housekeeping, but she cared that things not go to hell in a handbasket, so we all worked at it. She was queen of the adventure, the board game, and the chocolate-chip cookie, and she never lost sight of who she was."

I hope so but admit freely: a part of me frets continuously over my very own way of being and doing. It's like a bit of popcorn stuck in my teeth; I can't quite seem to leave it alone. I want to be better and more and wonder: have I achieved balance? How much do others judge me, and how much should it matter?


  1. I loved this,Brandee.And this line :"I don't have time to create; I don't. I don't have time to photograph, edit photos, or write. I make time."

  2. So darn true!It seems those giftings we have we are the most critical at that gift so much so we never 'live' up to the expectation so we just quit.

    I want people to see my giftings used to His glory. Always the key don't you think? THen your successful in whatever you do.

  3. On the other end of the spectrum. I was the clean freak mama who should have been a wee bit more carefree and creative. I think you're the fun mom.