30 minutes of creativity

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

This is thirty minutes of writing, thinking, creating. No rushing off to do other things, no playing solitaire or checking on the latest post on reddit. Not even posting to twitter or perusing facebook. This is time to sit back and think and maybe come up with a great idea. This is also not time for drawing or programming, although I expect both will be inspired and planned by these sessions. This is about silently sitting while properly caffeinated and trying to come up with something. Ignore all beeps and reminders. Ignore everything to type something on the screen.

I’ve been thinking about this today. I want more space to create, more time to put words or pictures together. This is the hardest part of both those activities. The actual “typing” (to steal a Matt Booty-ism) is relatively easy after the heavy thinking and planning is finished. That’s what these words are: not a word goal but a time limit. Even if nothing comes during these times, I sit here with fingers curled over the keys and see what if anything happens. No cheating, no looking, no nothing except waiting to push letters.

I should record how I feel at the end of each session to know whether I’m maximizing my time when the mood and the feeling is right. It’s after lunch and coffee now, 2pm on Christmas day. I just finished putting Tiger to sleep by driving her around Mercer Island.

If you asked me before Tiger, I would have laughed at the thought of driving my child around in the car in an attempt to put her to sleep. Failed parenting, is what I would have called that activity. When home, I find myself participating in that great failing. She’s better at night where we plop her in bed and after a few stories I close the door and hope for the best. In the afternoon we’re usually out and about, and we got into the habit of Tiger falling asleep.

The problem with this strategy is that we’re not always out, and when we’re not, we have to make a special trip. Also, being the winter, and with Tiger not yet potty trained, but too big to use a changing table, even if we are out, I usually have to stop in the house to change her diaper before the senseless driving begins and her head falls to the side, her eyes first staring out and then closing to the sounds of classical music over the XM radio.

That’s not the difficult part. Given the right time of day and a clean diaper, there’s a good chance she’ll fall asleep to the movement of the car and quiet music. When I get home we have two choices: leave her in the car with the garage door closed and hope the car doesn’t cool down too quickly during her one to two hour nap. Or make the transfer.

The transfer is an art. You’re attempting to move a sleeping child from the car seat to a stroller to move her inside to sleep. A wrong move and she will waken and you will spend another thirty minutes driving to Issaquah in the hopes that she will fall asleep again—such hopes not always wisely places since once woken the odds of a nap drop precipitously.

The last couple of days I’ve managed the transfer, and she’s now sleeping in the double red stroller in the living room facing the red wall. It was not the easiest of transfers, as, after gingerly lifting her arms to remove her ringing Pooh Bear and Abbey Cadaby puppet, lifted her away from the car seat, her blanket fell to the wet ground, and, even worse, her dress snagged on the car seat. It required a lowering and pulling motion to free her and swing her into the waiting stroller, all while hoping that the jarring motion that freed her from the car seat would not wake her.

Since I ruined the anticipation and you, my dear reader, already know that she was successfully transferred and is now sleeping blissfully in the other room while I partake in this thirty minutes of creativity, I will admit now a sense of caffeine-induced relief. That’s the problem with coffee at home: it develops anxious energy that I must suppress until I’m alone and in front of keys to type.

It’s good I have things to type and think about. Otherwise there would be a bunch more hemming and hawing. Sort of like this, if you don’t recognize the clearing of my phlegm-filled throat.

I do plan to return to Inner Tirade, perhaps throw off a few more Horribles, and even, one of these days, if the stars align and I finally give up on work, start BPG. But before I do any of that, I need to think. Plan. Remind myself why creativity is wonderful. What I feel as I write and wonder why I haven’t don’t this in a while.

Even now the call of the phone is strong. It sits there, it’s screen black, mocking my efforts to resist it.

At a neighboring table, there was a skinny, middle-aged woman, who likely had suffered from a seizure as the left side did not respond, and she was deaf in her left ear. She sat with her brother and mother, a large woman who frequented the deli on the island. She kept telling first her mother and then her brother to “shut up” and quit embarrassing her, as they made remarks to the waiter: first the mother in introducing the waiter—after asking his name, which was Dave, since she had forgotten since the last time she ate there—to her daughter, and informing him that she was single and wouldn’t it be great if the two of them got together. The daughter responded with the aforementioned “shut up!” and the waiter moved right on to the specials and taking the orders. A classic misdirection. Then the brother, who complained about the portion-size of the food, which prompted the manager, when he asked to see how everything was going and heard the brother’s complaint about the two small eggs, handful of sausage and toast not being sufficient, the manager said that this wasn’t the Claim Jumper, and the quality was very high and food filling, and if he wasn’t full after the meal, he would somehow make him right.

The Claim Jumper, for those who have not had the opportunity to frequent this restaurant chain, provides very large, buttery, (and, regrettably) delicious food for decent prices. The problem is the size and fat content. It’s similar to the Cheese Cake Factory but with shorter lines.

There’s probably a story there, or maybe a comic. Or maybe just a few words typed off so I can say I wrote about something.

Daily observations: this is what I can bring the world.

Dinosaur is upstairs sleeping with Doolies. Or I hope he is. It’s been a difficult few nights with him. Not sure if he’s still congested, but he’s been waking often at night. And even when sleeping, groaning often enough to ensure neither Doolies nor I get much sleep even during his sleep periods.

Sorry for the interruption. The iggies were barking at a neighboring dog, and I was trying to keep them quiet to avoid waking up Dinosaur or Tiger—their sleep providing me this brief respite into the world of my empty thoughts.

My wrists and fingers hurt. Likely the results of too much video games lately. Doolies bought me World of Warcraft for my birthday, and we spent a few days reliving our long-distance relationship-built characters. And then we delved into the more modern MMORPG to try out the genre. I think I’m over it now. We enjoy one aspect of the game that doesn’t seem well developed in any of the modern games. Which is probably for the best. I don’t think my wrists could have taken much more AWDSing.

My energy is starting to deplete as I reach the end of these words. I’m not sure how this will go tomorrow—or even if it will go. Perhaps I’ll have more focused words on topics I want to create with, or, more likely, less words after I talk through my inane day. Once I return to work the inanity will continue, the sameness, the nothing to talk to because of confidentiality concerns, etc.

But for now I can call this a successful session, if by success I measure a lack of Solitaire playing or internet browsing or general mind-wandering laziness. I still have a few minutes to fulfill the obligation. Those minutes will be filled up by a discussion about how I still have those minutes hanging on like that proverbial cat to the tree branch.

Maybe I should got take a nap and call it good.