How to Salvage Your Sagging Creative Work with Spontaneous Absurdity

“All growth is a leap in the dark, a spontaneous, unpremeditated act without benefit of experience.”

 —Henry Miller

file4391309901763.jpgSometimes a project droops like one of Dali’s clocks. Can you salvage the painting, the scene, or the children’s activity?

When your creative work slumps, do something spontaneously absurd to it.

No. Don’t throw or destroy your work. Ask, “With my creativity still intact, but my internal editor turned off, what would I like to do right now to this work?” Then do it.

You may be surprised that your work improves three-fold.

See what I mean in these fictitious examples of Spontaneous Absurdity.

Example 1

id-1004940.jpgThe work: Wade paints a jade-green rubber tree houseplant. He’s eager to add the pièce de résistance: the new yellow shoot.

Sinking Realization: Wade paints the yellow budding leaf and steps back. Humpf. It’s still a rubber tree houseplant. Even he can resist this pièce.

Spontaneous Absurdity: How about a plant from another planet? While the paint is wet, Wade recreates the shoot into a corkscrew that ends in a burst of fuchsia.

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Example 2

Ending of Jeanne’s Novel:

Arthur took Megan into his arms, lowered his head, and kissed her. Her heart pounded. She’d spend her life with this handsome man.

Jeanne’s Critique Partner’s Note: Something’s missing. Actually, a lot.

Spontaneous Absurdity: Okay. How about this for something!

id-10075211.jpgArthur led Meghan through the downpour into the summerhouse. He drew her to him and cupped her head, a drop of water threatening to fall from the curl hanging over his forehead.

Goosebumps prickled Meghan’s arms. Would he finally kiss her?

As he lowered his lips toward hers, she placed her fingertips to his pursed lips. “I’ve called you Arthur from the beginning. The name is so formal, don’t you think? Now that you seem about to press your lips to mine, may I call you Art?”

He grinned and rubbed his nose against hers. “Only if I may call you Meg.” The drop fell from his curl and ran down her cheek like a tear. “Don’t cry, Meghan. I won’t call you Meg.”

She fluttered her lashes. “You see, Meg is the name of our neighbor’s pet skunk. But you may shorten my name to Han.”

He brushed her lips with his, sending tingles up her neck.

“Okay. Then you may shorten Arthur to Hur. I like that better than Art.”

She giggled. “How delightful. Hur and Han. What an interesting beginning to our relationship, Hur.”

“No, lovely Han. This is an interesting beginning to our relationship.” He sank his lips onto hers.

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Example 3

file000608292008.jpgAngela’s Preschool Activity: “Cut lips like this example and paste them to your Valentine for a kiss.”

Preschoolers: “Mommy says I’m left-handed. I can’t use these scissors.” “I need help. I can’t cut around the bumps.” “I have only one lip. Sniff. By accident.”

Spontaneous Absurdity: Angela extracts her Red Rumba lipstick from her purse and a tissue. She zips from child to child, smoothing on lipstick to their puckered lips, and then wipes the lipstick clean for the next child. “Kiss your valentine as many times as you wish.”

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What bit of spontaneous absurdity improved your creative work?

How to Use Art to Free Your Anxious Heart

We all bear difficult times in our lives when we feel overwhelmed. My guest, Kristin Blankenship, shares her experience and 4 tips we can employ to heal our anxious hearts.

Using Art to Free an Anxious Heart

It is important to do the work that leads to our renewal, clarity and inspiration and then remember to taste it, experience it and let it flow.  Linda Saccoccio

Let Your Light Shine
Let Your Light Shine

No one could have prepared me for the journey my heart would travel upon becoming a mom over 9 years ago.  A journey bursting with love for my long-awaited child, a little boy entering the world in hushed awe with wide-open eyes – windows to an old soul.  And, at the same time, a journey fraught with the uneasiness over the feeling that my beautiful boy did not seem comfortable outside the womb.  With the arrival of a little sister less than two years later, came frequent and lengthy meltdowns, nightly sleep difficulties, and the onset of rigid, repetitive behaviors.  My husband and I operated in survival mode for days on end.

autismbooks

Writer, Elizabeth Stone, once described having children as  “forever having your heart go walking around outside your body.” My boy and I shared the same anxious heart as I began searching for answers from pediatricians, child psychologists, behavior and occupational therapists.  At the age of 2 ½, my sweet boy was diagnosed with high-functioning autism.  And while this journey has been difficult at times, especially in those early years, it has also served as a training ground for strength, perseverance, joy and celebration as we experience God’s love through the hands and hearts of those who travel along beside us.

Being the parent of a special needs child often means chronic sleep deprivation and countless hours researching in the desperate effort to understand and make the best decisions for early intervention.  It is easy to become so focused on these aspects, that we lose our true selves somewhere in the mad dash to special schools and multiple therapies all over (and out of) town.  Even play with a special needs child requires work!  It is no wonder that when we do finagle some quiet-time for ourselves, we sit with grieving hearts, trying to remember who we are beyond the Special Needs Mom title.

Spread Joy
Spread Joy

For me, art has played an integral role in healing my own worn-out, anxious heart.  Integrating art and creativity into our daily lives fosters the opportunity to reconnect with our own inner child, that child of God who runs and laughs and feels joy spontaneously.  When we get out of our own heads and back in touch with our true essence, we are better able to connect with God, the Source for inspiration and energy that we so desperately need.  Yes, our children need our intellect.  They need us to be their advocates. Even more, they need our hearts and the joy that God has placed inside them.  Joy that offers healing for ourselves and our children.

So, how can you infuse art into your daily life?  Here are a few suggestions to get you started:

  • Grab the crayons and draw or write with your non-dominant hand.  Studies indicate that this practice promotes access to the right-side of the brain which houses functions such as feeling, intuition, creativity, and inner wisdom and spirituality.

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  • Engage your body in joyful movement.  Try dancing to upbeat music while doing chores, such as cleaning the bathroom.

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  • Create a sculpture with air-dry clay or play-dough.  The act of sculpting and kneading releases stress and reminds us of how God created and molded us in his very own image.

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  • Cut-out magazine pictures that “speak” to you and make a collage. Figure-out ways to incorporate one or more of these ideas into the weeks ahead.VisionCollage

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Allow the creativity to flow and you just might discover a deep well of abundance. Abundance that offers sustenance for a tired heart.

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Stu&MeKristin Blankenship is the wife to her husband of 19 years and the mother of  two school-age children, ages 7 and 9. Before having children, she spent the majority of her adult career working in the public schools as an elementary school teacher and guidance counselor. More recently, Kristin ran with the desire to “unleash her inner artist,” and began working with creative coach, Amy Barr.  Through this process, she discovered healing and a renewed joy for life. Currently, Kristin resides in Midlothian, Virginia where she writes of her faith and motherhood at her blog, The Blue Mug, and creates mixed-media art, celebrating the simple beauty of life.

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