The Watering Hole Blog

Creativity Brings More Joy & Beauty to World

Using Creativity to Bring More Joy & Beauty into the World


“The universe buries strange jewels deep within us all, and then stands back to see if we can find them. The hunt is to discover those jewels – that’s creative living.”

– Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic; Creative Living Beyond Fear

In a previous blog, Responding to Tragedy – Can Kindness and Compassion Help Heal a Broken World?, I pondered the idea of responding to tragic news events with small but significant acts of kindness and compassion in our own lives.

Today, I’ll touch on the concept of using our creativity to bring more joy and beauty into a world that very much needs it.

I had an unexpected free weekend all to myself recently when plans changed at the last moment. So I decided to tackle a task – with great gusto in a Saturday morning burst of energy – that ended up requiring some creativity.

Over the past few months, I have been making greeting cards out of some of my photos. Here is a sample of a familiar furry face:

Sadie on beach photo card

My graphic designer is currently creating a page on the PGP website that will showcase some of these photos for on-line purchase (in 5 or 10 packs).

Another way I will be selling these photo cards is at a local Christmas craft fair/s. But in order to submit my application to rent a booth space, I had to come up with a photo of the display table for my booth. However, since I’ve never ever sold the cards at a fair before, I had to create a sample display table in my sunroom!

And I must say, I had a BLAST creating this mock display! Here are a few pics:

Display booth photo big

display booth dog cards

display booth bahamas

To keep the costs down (because I don’t even know if I’ll get accepted into the craft fair, as it is juried) and crank up the creativity, I promised myself I wouldn’t go out and buy a single new thing for the display – but rather just use what I could find around my home.

“All I have is all I need.”

– Sarah Ban Breathnach, Simple Abundance; A Daybook of Comfort and Joy

And since the craft fair organizer had suggested that I go on Pinterest to get display booth ideas, that’s exactly what I did. Yes, that’s right. Instead of reading about the latest act of violence and hatred, I started an account on Pinterest.

If you aren’t on Pinterest, it’s like porn for creative chicks!

So I spent that delightful Saturday morning cheerfully collecting/pinning a whole bunch of beautiful photos of craft fair display booths.

And let me tell you, head in the sand or not, I was a heck of a lot happier looking at pretty pictures on Pinterest than reading the gruesome details of the latest mass murder 🙁

But here’s the thing: I didn’t just look at Pinterest photos for a quick hit of dopamine. Rather, I used those photos to inspire me and fuel my own creativity to come up with a unique display that showcases my photo cards and my book.

display booth suitcase cards

I love this quote by Elizabeth Gilbert because she expresses exactly how I felt that Saturday morning:

“I am going to spend as much time as I can creating delightful things out of my existence, because that’s what brings me awake and that’s what brings me alive.”

– Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic

Although creating beautiful things that bring us joy and make us feel alive may not change the trajectory of world events, I do think there is great merit in trying to help create a better, more beautiful world versus being just another consumer – and sharer – of tragic news.

display booth AWA and MA and John photo

July 27th was mine & John’s wedding anniversary – and today would have been our 20th anniversary! Even though we only had 4 years of marriage, July 27th isn’t a sad day for me…it hasn’t been for years. Rather, July 27th is a special day to reflect on the fun times we had together and the love we shared.

But I must confess, it still amazes me that it was my journey through grief that got me on my path to a creative life…to discover those jewels buried deep inside.

Related blogs by Maryanne:

Responding to Tragedy – Can Kindness & Compassion Help Heal a Broken World?

Beautiful Big Magic – the Book AND the Magic

Maryanne Pope is the author of A Widow’s Awakening, the playwright of Saviour and the screenwriter of God’s Country. Maryanne is the CEO of Pink Gazelle Productions and the Chair of the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund. If you would like to receive her weekly blog, please sign up here.


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8 thoughts on “Creativity Brings More Joy & Beauty to World”

  1. I love what you did here, using your creativity with everything you already have at home. It’s wonderful what our imaginations can do when we let them soar. Also, I have so much respect for the way you celebrate your anniversary, it’s always great to hear your story and how you remember and treasure the important things in life.

  2. Hi Maryanne — Happy 20th Anniversary of your fantastic marriage to John — I can only imagine what a cool and tremendously loving couple you two were — and although that union is not longer part of this tangible world, it is still very much a part of your visceral reality — I hope you are finding a fitting way to honor this union today. Oh, and also, those card displays look fantabulous!!!

  3. Happy belated anniversary Maryanne. Glad that you are able to cherish your happy memories of John. Your buried jewels are very creative! Good luck at the fair.

  4. I am glad that July 27 is a day not of sadness for you but of fun times and love, as you now may know it is also my birthday so now that I know it is also your anniversary it will add to my celebration of this day forever! sorry haven’t been able to get down there this summer for our retreat but we will do it!!!

  5. July 27th is a great day for a birthday…hope you had an AWESOME one!! Yes, we will get a writing retreat in at my place again…when the time is right, Lynne 🙂
    Take care and hope all is going well with you guys!

  6. Thanks, Marjorie! I am excited about selling my cards and book at the craft fairs. I am very curious to see how the cards sell – as there are an awful lot of photo greeting cards out there!

    Hope you are having a great summer,

  7. Hi Glynis! Glad you liked the card display…what fun I had putting that together! I hope you are doing well and I look forward to our next walk & talk (or just sit in the backyard and talk…hah!).

  8. Thank you, Angela! Yes, I was rather proud of myself for using JUST what I had in my house – to put that display together. You’re absolutely right…it is amazing what we can come up with when we let our imaginations soar 🙂

    Hope you are having a great summer!

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