Curiosity Journal: December 28, 2011

Each Wednesday I’ve been recording a Curiosity Journal to recap the previous week using these tag words: reading, playing, learning, reacting and writing. Now I’m simplifying the journal, to see if I like a slimmed-down version.

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Reading

The equivalent to what I would have posted here went live yesterday: “Season of Creativity.” When I began to re-read Rumors of Water: Thoughts on Creativity & Writing, by my friend and colleague L.L. Barkat, I found myself pulling out art supplies…

Playing

After a brief survey of my meager collection of pencils, charcoal and conté crayons, I determined a pencil sketch was in order. A sketch…of a pear.So I pulled out the only pear in the fruit bowl, a bosc pear. Kind of old, but edible. And sketch-able.Turns out its stem was broken and a few dark spots marred its skin. At first I was bummed about the imperfections; then I decided those sort of added charm, like a beauty mark.And then, for the first time in years, I picked up a drawing pencil and sketched.Following the recommendations of this post, I decided to sketch it four different times from four different angles.And I quickly realized I need a refresher course in shading and, perhaps, in the whole process of sketching. Thankfully, online tutorials provide helpful and inspiring instruction.

Learning

Even though the author seemed hesitant to make definitive statements, I enjoyed an article from onlineuniversities.com entitled, “15 Scientific Facts about Creativity.” One thing they said was:

Unlike intelligence, creativity tends to thrive when thinking slows down, although “flashes” of inspiration and insight occur with the speed of flashes.

I was also pleased that I managed to use the elliptical machine the same morning that I read “fact” number nine, “Aerobic exercise increases one’s creative potential”:

When brain fog starts rolling in, try a moderate amount of aerobic exercise to try and clear it up. Rhode Island College scientists noted that the two hours after engaging in such rigorous physical activity proved some of the most mentally fertile in a 2005 study.

I sort of ignored the observations that creativity and mental illness may correlate and that creative people are more likely to be dishonest.

Reacting

I’ve never been too good about setting and meeting goals unless they are very simple and short-term, like, “finish folding laundry,” “clear desk,” and “clip nails.” When I was in college, I would make a daily to-do list, and at the top I would always write “get up.” This ensured a sense of success and productivity because immediately upon waking, I could cross something off.So you can see that when it comes to goal-setting, I haven’t exactly aimed high.Yet year after year I find that during the days between Christmas and New Year’s, I’m considering goals, intentions, resolutions, rhythms, habits, patterns, curiosity, creativity, productivity…and dreams.I’m wondering how can they all weave together.Indeed, weaving together is important because the lines between work and play and teaching and learning blur and merge in my life. Due to this blurring and merging, clear and measurable goal-setting becomes a bit more of a challenge.But I formulate plans and talk them over with the Belgian Wonder. I sort them out in my journal. I pray. I wait. I try to listen as best I can to Divine direction, remaining open to new ideas.If nothing dramatic or substantial presents itself, I tend to focus on maintaining existing rhythms of life—perhaps tweaking them slightly—and listing projects that make sense to launch in this calendar year. Otherwise, a lot of life is about the quotidian activities that keep our family fed and clothed, and our home livable.But I do love to dream.

Writing

I’m practicing writing with my left hand, to unleash creativity.

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Credits:Photos: Images by Ann Kroeker. All rights reserved.

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  • Comments

    1. Is it Wednesday already?? Now I’m feeling a bit of a failure because your last curiosity journal post made me want to paint…but have I? I love your sketches, you look like a natural. I’m so curious about those tutorials, so now I have to go check those out :).

      • I’ve not painted much, but it seems more involved than sketching. I don’t blame you for avoiding mess-making during Christmas activities! I found that I bought myself a little kit of oil paints, like a starter kit. I’m very tempted to buy a canvas on sale at Michael’s and try something, but having to keep things out while it dries…that’s a bigger commitment than pulling out my blank book and sketching a pear.

        I’d love to learn how to do watercolor, though, as it is relatively fast.

        If you paint something, I’d love to see it.

    2. Your sketch brought back memories of my High School Art projects. I am always telling people to take an art class and perhaps I should heed my own advice. I have never been good at lists and at this point it would be a resolution that would soon break. Your posts are always an inspiration and such a blessing.

      • I loved my high school art class! It awakened and fed some place inside of me that was neglected during Latin, Algebra and English classes. I need to get back to it.

        Lists and commitments…I hesitate for the same reason as you, Hazel, as I have a hard time following through with lists these days. But for some reason, I go ahead and make them. If I accomplish just one thing on the list, I’m pretty excited. :)

    3. I’ll second that point about aerobic exercise. My bicycle was my friend when I was in graduate school! When I got “stuck” on my research I’d go for a long, hard ride. I’d come home tired, hungry, sweaty, and unstuck.

      And I’m right there with you about goals. I do best with ones I can write down and cross off within 48 hours…

    4. I am officially going to add “get up” to my daily to-do list. Love it, Ann! :)

      (Nice drawing.)

    5. Ann, you are so my kind of woman. I used to write down things I’d already done on my to-do list, just so I could cross them off. I’ve also been known to write “make to-do list” on my to-do list…

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