Thursday, June 20, 2013

pursuing creativity

 On the writings of P.G. Wodehouse, known as Plum to friends and family, who momentarily put writing aside and devoted himself to learning to play the banjo:
What actually did happen was that Westbrook--either because he had no ear for music or because he was temporarily out of ready cash--took advantage of one of Plum's absences from the house to rush the banjo off to an obliging pawnshop. This would not have irked Plum so much had the separation from his instrument been for a specified period. But Westbrook, whether by accident or design, lost the pawn ticket and this put paid to a possible music career. For Plum--like a pet-lover whose dog, rhino, marmoset or whatever having passed away hesitates to have another--did not replace the departed banjo. Perhaps the world is in Westbrook's debt. Time that might have been devoted to the banjo was spent once again in writing.{emphasis mine} ~David A. Jasen, P.G. Wodehouse: A Portrait of a Master 
Edith Schaeffer discussing the need for devoting time and energy to creating art and beauty:
All art involves conscious discipline. If one is going to paint, do scuplture, design a building or write a book, it will involve discipline in time and energy--or there would never be any production at all to be seen, felt or enjoyed by ourselves or others. To develop 'hidden Art' will also, of course take time and energy--and the balance of the use of time is a constant individual problem for all of us: what to do, and what to leave undone. One is always having to neglect one thing in order to give precedence to something else. The question is one of priorities.
It would very frustrating if we expected each other to do each thing perfectly, or to add new creative things without eliminating something else. Of course something is being neglected every day. That is the finite bit of humanity asserting itself! But--and this needs emphasis--a Christian, above all people, should live artistically, aesthetically, and creatively. We are supposed to be representing the Creator who is there, and whom we acknowledge to be there.{emphases mine} 
Does this mean that we should all drop everything to concentrate on trying to develop into great artists? No, of course not. But it does mean that we should consciously do something about it.
[T]he fact that you are a Christian should show in some practical area of a growing creativity and sensitivity to beauty, rather than in a gradual drying up of creativity, and a blindness to ugliness. ~Edith Schaeffer, The Hidden Art of Homemaking
Lanier, writing on more than a decade of reflection as a wife, homemaker and writer:
It meant that I could leave certain things undone as freely as I could take up others. That one task was not ‘holier’ than another simply because it fit nicely into the groove of an accepted standard.It was just as valid, I saw, to hammer out words on my laptop for people I would never meet as to give an entire day to preparing a beautiful meal for beloved friends. I gave myself permission to write, not for a few hours a week, but a several hours a day. Interminable chore lists languished, trumped by the lure of a poetry book or a garden sketch. I was homemaker, in the truest sense of the word, but not only that— and this little clause was vastly, wildly, magnificently important. I began to realize that my “deep gladness,” the gift I had to give to the world, was at once simpler and more complex than could be confined to one blanket term—simpler because there was suddenly no need to align myself with one narrow definition or another; more complex because I was, to my growing astonishment…more. As much scribbler and wayfarer and dreamer of dreams as housewife, sacred as that calling is to me. ~Lanier, Mercies from her website Lanier's Books
We all have talents and abilities whether inherent or learned, that God has given to us to use to create beauty and goodness.  Taking time to develop and grow those passions is important work as we imitate God's work in creation.  I have written about this before in a post called, not surprisingly, Important Work.  It's fun to ask my friends and family what they pursue for the development of beauty and goodness. I need to do it more often and encourage them in these areas.

What areas of art, beauty, and creativity do you like to pursue?  Perhaps like me, you need to say with Anne of Avonlea, "I must get out all my ambitions and dust them."  

Learning to draw well is one of my ambitions and this page is from last year; I need to set aside time to "dust off " my drawing book and begin again.


  1. Heather,
    I like your question to your friends and family. I am always delighted to discover that someone else likes to sew... or knit... or garden, or whatever it may be. I like creative people!

    Lately I've rekindled my enjoyment of Hand Lettering & Typography- something I studied in college. So I'm checking out books at the library and practicing letter forms in my journal. It's fun for me.
    This season also has me picking up my nature journal more often- picking a flower and drawing it outside with my colored pencils.

    ps: I'm going to copy down that Anne quote. :) And I remember well your Important Work post. That was a good one. I read parts of it to Mark or at least told him all about it and we had a good conversation about adding beauty.

  2. I like the Anne quote too!


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