I've always thought that creativity comes knocking at the most unusual times. I've written about this on my blog before (although where and when my tired mind doesn't remember at the moment!) and I stand by it. When you're a writer, it doesn't always seem to matter what's going on in your life, how busy or sick you are, or how you're feeling. Sometimes creativity just waltzes up to the front door, rings the bell zestfully, and slides right in as soon as you open the door even a tiny crack.
That's what happened to me in the wee small hours of the morning last night. Yes, another night when, exhausted as I was, I still woke up and couldn't get back to sleep. Not even quiet music or soporific reading can get me back to sleep right now once I'm up, probably because some part of me is usually aching or hurting. So I give into the wakefulness for a while and see where it leads before I finally begin to nod off again.
Last night it led me to an unexpected place: a children's book idea I had quite a while ago. I should say it was a book idea that the sweet girl and I had together. I came up with it first, but she and I talked about it one morning. It was quite a long while ago, before I got sick -- I would say at least a year and a half ago? Maybe two? Who knows. But here it was again.
I'm not going to share the idea right now because it's in that brimming, simmering, almost vaporous stage where I feel like if I share too much about it, it could pop like a bubble and disappear. Well, okay, I shared about it with my dear husband at lunch (in between my final radiation appointment and our next visit with Erin in the hospital). He liked it, and being the creative guy he is (one reason I married him was because I knew he would forever be my writing partner!) bounced some ideas around about it with me, which made me even more interested in pursuing it. I feel like I'm in that stage where I sit up like an attentive puppy with my ears cocked and my head turned sideways, eyes on whatever might happen next so I can jump.
Part of the reason I brought it up with him at lunch is because the ideas, which started coming between one and two a.m. last night, started falling like a gentle rain again during the first part of my radiation treatment. In some ways, that didn't surprise me. I always try to arm myself with things to think about before those start, so I can begin to meditate as soon as the treatment starts. I have a small piece of oval foam I have to hold onto while I am lying on the table and the treatment goes on (to keep my arms and shoulders in place). My legs are bent over another piece of foam. The mask goes on over my face, and my head is bent back on a sort of neck brace. My kind radiologist brings a blanket to cover me. (They didn't stock them today becase it was Sunday, but he knew I'd want one and nabbed me the last one!)
Once I am in position, I stay in that position for about forty-five minutes, listening to meditative music. If I choose to keep my eyes open, then I am looking at an image of green trees against a blue sky (which they keep on the ceiling). Most of the time, however, I choose to keep them closed, especially because there are times when the arm of the radiation machine (what I have referred to as the "robot" all week) zooms over right in front of my face, and it's a little alarming to have it so close. I tend to breathe better and relax more with my eyes closed. And then I begin to think about whatever I've chosen to fix my mind on, often a verse.
I did that today, pondering my morning devotions from Jeremiah 16 and 17, but then I let my mind wheel to the idea for the children's book. And sure enough, the ideas began to flow. And I really, really like these ideas! They are coming together in ways that just make creative and beautiful sense.
Although there have been many times in my life when I have been surprised by creativity's visits, I think this may take the top spot. I am exhausted right now on every level, particularly physically and emotionally. I don't know if I have the strength to do much with these ideas as they come, but I confess I've begun doing a bit of jotting in my journal, and that some of the actual possible writing is starting to flow through my mind. I am also discovering that the ideas are feeling a bit like crepe paper streamers -- you know the ones you get and twist together to decorate a wall or ceiling for a child's party? You unroll them and weave them together and there is just something very satisfying about it when they start to come together and look the way you want them to.
Maybe it's time to throw a party -- even if it needs to be a small, quiet one for a while -- for creativity, my unexpected but still very welcome guest.