This week I am reading the poems of Margaret Atwood. One particular poem I read yesterday morning struck me and I wanted to share the experience.
In the poem the narrator talks about being bored with the mundane chores of life. Most commonly referred to as the simple things in life. Toward the end of the poem she writes about the contrast between knowing and bored. She wonders if the truth to happiness is in the boredom.
I did what I usually do after reading a piece that “strikes” me. I went for a walk in the garden. I picked away dead bits of leaves and flowers and gave the fall chrysanthemums a bit of water.
I remembered in detail how I loved the simple things of my life when my kids were little. How sewing a seam on a blouse felt like heaven and peace all rolled into one. Creating a blanket to keep the kids warm at night from a simple pattern made me happy in ways that I was unable to communicate.
I used the contrast and compared this simple happiness to my former life in IT. Nothing was simple or easy in that world. I tried to lie to myself and called it things like creative and challenging, but the reality was it felt like stress, headaches and complications to me.
It was a world where one simple fix became a nightmare of new problems and compatibility issues. A never ending rabbit hole that was anything but fun. I had to be honest with myself; there was no fun, satisfaction or happiness in that world.
I came back into the house and started folding the laundry. Noticing a couple of toilet paper rolls in the garbage can I plucked them from their final fate and studied them closely. I threw one for the cat who seemed to think it was the greatest toy on the planet. So much for the expensive trendy toys I picked up at the pet store for her.
I remembered how much fun the kids and I had making things out of recycled materials. It might be fun to make a craft with the granddaughter out of the rolls, I thought.
Maybe we can make a pair of Halloween glasses, paint them black and orange… add a little glitter? Yes, we can make a game out of this and pretend they’re ghost buster binoculars. Or maybe just put them in front of her with a question: “What do you see in these toilet paper rolls?”
It all came back to me. Creativity lives in simplicity. Simplicity allows focus, which breeds creativity.