"Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes.
Art is knowing which ones to keep."
I must have started this column four times. I would
find a quotation I like, write a paragraph or two and
then decide that it wasn’t really what I wanted to
write about this month. I don’t know if it was the
heat, or the fact that my son and his girlfriend were
here all last week (and it was a wonderful visit!), or
the number of training sessions I have scheduled
over the next few weeks. I just know that the first
attempts were not ones I wanted to keep.
There seems to be a tendency for those of us who
try to create to expect every attempt we make to
come out as something worthwhile. The exercise of
creativity almost demands the opposite. You know
those magic moments when you have created
something that you step back from and wonder how
you accomplished it? My friend Debbie
tells me that
those moments happen more frequently the more you
give yourself over to the creative urge. In other
words, creativity very often is like a muscle – the
more you use it, the stronger it becomes.
I met a potter once who taught classes. He
explained that his students would be so focused, so
concerned with getting everything right, that they
forgot to have fun and be creative. They would
work on their constructions while he created a piece
as well. At about the midpoint in the class, he would
take his creation and drop it on the cement floor in
the class where it would break into thousands of tiny
pottery shards. The class would gasp in horror. He
would explain, “It’s just clay. If I’ve created it once,
I can do it again.” He needed to get them to
understand that art is not about luck. It’s about
practice and skill and trying over and over again. It’s
about allowing yourself to make mistakes.
I’ve made a few. Each one gets me a little closer to
creating what I want. Give yourself permission to
create. Make mistakes. Then decide what’s worth
Thank you so much to Chickie Backhaus from
Independence Hill who sent in the following
explanation of the term “nest egg.” Chickie wins a
gift card from one of my favorite restaurants.
There was this man out in the wilderness and this
large eagle kept attacking him whenever he got close
to a certain part of the forest... and he could not
figure out why.
He soon came across an Indian scout and the scout
said to follow him and he would explain why the eagle
did this. He led the man to a nearby cliff and pointed
up and said "nest, egg".
Thus the meaning of the phrase has come to
mean "something very precious that you must guard
with your very life" should you be fortunate enough
to have one.
I like this better than the one from the 1700s,
which was "a real or artificial egg left in a nest to
induce the hen to go on laying there." Good job,
Chickie! (And how perfect is it that she was the
winner this month?
I think I’ll try one more phrase before I go back to
the puzzles for you logical types. This month, give
me an explanation (not the real one) for the
term “pull out all the stops” and you might win a free
meal. Humor scores extra points. Have a great