Saturday, January 02, 2010

At the true turn of the year

The day before school begins feels much more like New Year's eve to me than December 31st, because for me, that's the start of when things need to get done. I've had eleven or twelve delicious days of waking up without the alarm, enjoying my family, not checking my university e-mail account, and gently pushing aside all my thoughts and plans for the next semester. Now, it's time to pull them back out again, and prepare to give them my full attention.

As the school holiday draws to a close, some time around the last day of December I start feeling mournful. I thrive in the company of my children and husband and dog. I know that soon we have our duties and responsibilities to attend to, and I feel reluctant to face that. Then, in the first days of January, my mindset starts to shift. It's not merely duty and responsibility, it's opportunity and challenge. It's purpose and commitment. And as that start to takes hold, I feel ready not just to start school again, but to hit the ground running.

So why be creative every day? Two (among many) reasons. One, my discipline is science, and research. It requires a very left brain, orderly, logical approach to problem solving, leading to the need for some stress relief.  Two, my discipline is science, and research. Without a right brain, intuitive approach, I think there's a risk of getting stuck in dead ends, of losing the context in which the research question lies.  I don't necessarily think that doodling on a piece of paper or knitting a sock will guarantee I'll be a better thinker. But I hope to be a less stressed one, with a more open and exploratory approach to what problems may arise. I believe that science demands creativity.

On a practical level, I sometimes find myself in the middle of the work day unable to string two thoughts, never mind two words together; and since I am too old for the usual student vice of gleeful midday drunkenness (that sure came in handy a couple of decades ago), I can at least relieve some of that with a restless pen, or a walk with a camera.

(picture not really related to post. I just like it. Shakeit is fun)


michele said...

couldn't have said it better myself - especially the part about the transition from holiday to January.

gorgeous photo too.

Alicia said...

This next week is going to be a hard one for me too, as I head back to work after being off for 10 days... 10 days in which I have completely messed up my sleeping schedule! I strive to be creative everyday, but hopefully this year, I'll become even better at it. When I do give myself time, I always feel a calm come over me. Some days I'm so busy that I push the creative time to the side.

Off to check out the link! And good luck in your everyday creative plan!

PS: LOVE the photo. It's unbelievably clear! Using the right amount of light, that iPhone can really capture some decent photos! I love how you've captured the child running off on the side of the photo!

Sophie_vf said...

Thanks Michele - you're probably getting set for work too!

Alicia - confession: it was actually taken with my Nikon. I only have an iTouch, so I imported it to that, and Shaked it (shook it?) there.

But you're right, I have seen some incredible iPhone photos out there.

Lianne Raymond said...

I think there is a lot of scientific research that shows doodling in your notebook or knitting a sock will make you a better thinker. ;)