on seasonal creativity

picture of 'created' treeI was sending my sister a synopsis of this morning’s WordPress Daily Post on ‘Hacking Creativity” to encourage her latent artistic side. As an afterthought, I mentioned my morning dogwalk that ended with me dragging home two large pine branches that had broken off during the night’s heavy-snow storm. Since they lay across my path, it seemed the right thing to do.

But of course I had an ulterior motive. We decided not to purchase a tree this year. Actually, the discussion has become an annual event at our home. I don’t like cutting down a tree for a few days; and purchasing a live one to plant later isn’t feasible at this late, unplanned-for-ahead-of-time date. So we decided on two alternate strategies: to string lights now around our good-sized and very green indoor hibiscus tree; and next spring, to plant a slow-growing evergreen by our patio to enjoy year after year, with white lights for the winter solstice.

Then I re-read what I had summarized to my sister and found I had unwittingly followed the advice of the post before even reading it! I ‘used my surroundings to my creative advantage;’ ‘thought outside the box;’ ‘kept forcing’ the idea; and took advantage of the dual constraints of timing (the branches were there this morning, might not be later) and my desire for a solution to the tree challenge. And then it struck me. Our family practice from childhood days when we lived in the country was to cut our own tree from the woods behind our house. The tree was always pine. Being sparse, it often required two: one to be The Tree; the second, to provide additional branches we lashed on with rope. Apparently I owe my father still more gratitude for teaching me how to hack creativity all those long years ago.

Casually viewed, today’s lashed-to-stump branches actually resemble a modest tree. And while I bask in the serendipity of these creative energies, I can enjoy a ‘living tree’ close-up for the duration of the long snowy season ahead.

quoted in book review!


A new review of WRITING AFTER RETIREMENT has just appeared, written by Diane Stanton for Story Circle Book Reviews. In it she says:

The most liberating lines were by Sarah W. Bartlett in her essay “It’s Never too Late to Start Blogging.” “Now that we’re retired,” she says, “we no longer need to follow any one else’s schedule or goals. We have the complete freedom to pick and choose… Moreover, we’ve earned the right to say what we think and feel…”