Saturday, November 11, 2017


My daughter and I had a great time throwing pots yesterday. There’s something special about starting with nothing but a lump of clay, and using only the wheel and my hands, turning it into a useful and attractive vessel.

That’s why I enjoy writing. It starts with nothing but an idea, but like the pot, gentle pressure and manipulation turn the idea into a story. One of the wonderful things about potting is that if the pot isn’t coming out just right, the potter can push the clay back down and try again. Stories are the same. The shape often needs to be pushed or pulled or sometimes completely rebuilt, and that’s okay. It’s all part of the creative process.

I think people have an inborn need to create. Creativity, to me, is to take something and transform it into something new, something better. To turn raw ingredients into delicious meals. To turn balls of yarn into warm hats. To fix a broken lamp and turn it into a bedside reading light.

People create in different ways. I knew a woman who didn’t consider herself creative, but she was volunteer secretary and treasurer for half a dozen organizations. She took numbers and ideas and organized them into a usable form everyone could understand. Coaches take kids full of nothing but unfocused energy and transform them into players. Parents start with helpless babies and transform them into loving, caring adults. Caregivers turn sickness into health.

Sometimes, creativity is hard. It’s easier to destroy than to create. As anyone who has thrown a temper tantrum can attest, destruction can be satisfying too. Briefly. But over the long haul, smashing a bowl isn’t nearly as fulfilling as creating one. 

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