The Golden Thread of Creativity
I live in the songwriting capital of the world, where people are more aware of creativity as a commodity. I’d venture to say that here in Nashville the creative meter likely runs higher than most. Yet in the form-fill world in which we live, we have to set a smart phone reminder to prompt ourselves to color outside the lines. The daily practice has to be cultivated, nurtured and even defended from the ease of monotony. This is where celebrating our inspiration comes in to play. I have pulled the golden thread of creativity throughout my life to keep it strong and vibrant.
On my first solo trip as a wide-eyed nine-year-old, I visited cousins in South Carolina. There, I fell in love with a beautiful low-country resort full of trees dripping Spanish moss, sparkling sunsets, and pristine white cottages.
When I returned to my landlocked home in Nashville, I immediately dashed to my room, where my imagination ran wild. Hours later, my parents came to check on me. I had craft paper spread wall to wall, mapping out my own island hotel, quaint cottages, sparkling water, and lots of lush trees dripping with Spanish moss. Twenty-five years later I returned to that idyllic island spot and re-designed a quaint cottage to share with my family. There have been countless times when I’ve closed my eyes and mustered inspiration from that early playroom session.
My maternal grandmother, Mimi, taught me about creativity. She provided stacks of construction paper and drawers full of crayons for my visits. She nurtured my imagination by allowing me my own agenda. I was welcome to play in her closets, draping myself in pretty dresses, silk robes, scarves, costume jewelry, and to freely wander and explore her gardens and pasture for inspiration. She gave me time to doodle and play, but she also gave me little jobs to do, such as sending me to check the garden and gather garden blooms. She gave me the chance to work along side her as she arranged flowers.
Nurturing creativity in yourself and your children can become as natural as breathing once you grasp the golden thread of creativity and begin pulling it through daily life. Redraw a routine. For example, set a morning alarm to play music that awakens your expressive side. Fill your personal spaces with items that inspire you.
An antique prayer book passed down to me as a sentimental gift sits atop a hallway chest I pass countless times a day en route from our master to the kitchen. Inserting meaningful items into our daily pathways brings opportunities for little moments of gratitude and inspiration.
You can begin to nurture creativity in children by pointing out the beauty of nature—such as spotting a beautiful butterfly and asking your child to give it a name and make up a story about where it will fly that day.
You are creative. You really are. Exercise your creativity. Grasp the frayed edge of that golden thread and begin pulling it through your life in simple ways. Before long, creativity will become as natural as breathing.
A fun idea I borrowed from my mom, and an appropriate one to share at this time of year-the end of the school year, when overflowing boxes of classroom art comes home from school: I use the insides of cabinet doors throughout my kitchen, pantry and laundry room as a gallery for favorite pieces of our children’s art. These pops of joy reveal themselves as we open and close the doors in our spaces and I enjoy the daily reminder of their precious creativity.