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:
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:
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.
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.
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.
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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.