Sunday, August 26, 2012

Acts of Creation

It was a day to experiment.  Rain brings out that desire sometimes.  Somehow, the soft tikki-tum of raindrops can act as the protective curtain that says "within this space, you can try something new, something bold, something different...and if it works, great!  And if it doesn't, great!"  Whether it works or not, however I understand that, doesn't matter, really.  The important thing is the space itself...entering into that thoughtful, mystical place of letting go, listening to creative desire, and giving in.

Buckwheat shortbread
Today's invitation was buckwheat cookies.  I'd read the recipe yesterday while at the public library--a fabulous source for cookbooks of all sorts.  I read it and felt the stirrings of Hmmmm... I copied it into my notebook of other Hmmms and carried it with me to see what it felt like in a while.  The provoking possibility remained.  I purchased what was needed and waited. The rain began and I knew it was the time. Whisking the dry ingredients into a bowl (1 c. buckwheat flour, 1 c. standard wheat flour, 2/3 c. sugar, 1 t. salt, 1 t. baking powder), I then melted 2 sticks of butter and whisked them into a froth before adding two egg yolks and whisking again.  Bit by bit, I added the dry to the wet and spoon-stirred the dough.    I made little balls and put them on the ungreased cookie sheet.  Once the sixteen little cement colored sandy wonders were in place, I flattened them merrily with a fork and introduced them to a 325 degree oven.

Twenty minutes later, there was goodness on a cooling rack.  The rain continued and so did that notion of the creative process being a cosmic set-aside moment for which I was quite thankful.

This feeling reminded me of a TED talk I'd heard by Elizabeth Gilbert, author of the book Eat, Pray, Love.  In her lecture, Gilbert muses about the origins of genius and how world changing it is to understand creative inspiration as precisely that--an inspired gift, originating not within the human self, but with the Divine, and how much freer that can make us.  Among other things, she speaks of having genius, not being a genius, and those moments of  recognizing transcendent divinity in the creative act.  

Some of my favorite parts of the lecture, though, are her minutes about Ruth Stone, a National Book Award winning poet who died at age 96 in late 2011.  In describing how poems come to her, Stone said she could feel the ground shaking beneath her feet and that she knew then that a poem was coming and she had to run and find a pencil and paper before it caught her or thundered by, looking for another poet.

I heard this and said "Yes!!"  Really, I did...and rather emphatically.  Out loud and in the company of others...others who looked at me quizzically and then went back to the screen.

The thing is, I totally understand that.  And it thrills me when I hear that someone else has felt like that and went with it....gave in to the desire to listen when the Spirit is moving.  And not only listen, but respond!  Passionately, creatively, without reserve and with a pen in hand.  Because she was called by that same Spirit to write.

Whether I care for what she writes is secondary...that is a matter of taste, as are cookies.

But responding to the mystical invitation to create...

Amen to that.  ¡Olé!

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