Searchlights & Signal Flares
Where does your creativity come from?
month: Susan Bono, J. Randal Matheny, Betty Winslow, Marlene
My poet friend Timothy had a dream in which
Joseph Campbell came to him with a packet of seeds. The old
man shook the little paper envelope gently in Timothy's face.
"Plant these," he said
Such advice I never got, or if I dream such
encounters with my muse, no memory of them carries me into
I would like to experience my creativity
as a force that takes up residence inside me-a permanent lodger,
a constant companion. I want creativity to be my seeing-eye
dog. All too often, I am led by my ambition, my anxieties,
my sense of duty. These energies
cause me to produce writing I consider successful sometimes,
but I don't like to think of them as the well from which my
A well of wisdom and vision and strength-many
of us picture ourselves drinking such healing water, being
filled with inspiration, which is then manifested in some
creative project. When I hear that Jane has designed a bathroom
with a garden in it, I think, "Ah, she probably has that special
water on tap at home!" I don't really imagine that she might
feel the same way I do about all this-that we are both more
like desert nomads, in search for the refreshment of an oasis.
It might be better to think of myself as
a tree, rooted to the earth, drawing up sustenance from the
soil and ground water, taking in the regenerating light of
the sun. A tree, if it has reached a sufficient size, does
not need to travel in search of water. It gets what it needs
wherever it is growing. In the dry times, it can wait. I don't
know if a tree dreams, or, if it does, what it remembers.
But it builds its canopy of limbs and leaves out of whatever's
available, everything it finds there.
Susan Bono is trying to keep her garden watered in Petaluma, CA.
John's poetry style differs from mine, but
I often find a good thought, a point of contact. After reading
one of his works published to his list, I wrote him a short
note. "I hear ya, brother, I hear ya."
Shortly, John replied, "Don't know what
I would have done without your work of late -- thanks."
Enigmatic, but suggestive.
I chewed on that phrase most of the day.
It stirred something deep within me.
It bespoke trials, discouragement, a tiny
light of hope seen in something I had written -- assuming
I wasn't reading into his reply. I wondered,
what in my work did he find that braced him?
John and I have swapped poetic ramblings
through email for some time. So his phrase wasn't a mere electronic
drip without context. The implied tenuousness of his words
had moved me, and that emotion sought expression.
In minutes, a poem had taken shape. "Frailty." Oh, it still needs revision, but the essence
had appeared. Creativity had been stirred.
The creative urge springs from many fountains,
but none so powerful as the reflections
from one soul to another. The proverb, "As iron sharpens
iron, so one man sharpens another," is never so
true as when a friend sparks in another the fire of creativity.
J. Randal Matheny
Sao Jose dos Campos, Brazil
creativity percolates on www.cloudburstpoetry.com .
creativity (and any talent I may have) comes from the Great
Creator of the Universe Himself and
I am inspired to creative heights when I look around
at the things He Himself has created.
Snowflakes, scraps of frozen lace floating
down from heaven, no two the same.
Flowers of every shape, size, and description,
brilliantly hued or quietly tinted, some with lovely smells,
some that eat insects, some that poison, some that heal, all
marvels of construction.
Rocks of every color, hardness, and structure,
from the hard crystalline beauty of diamonds to the soft greasy
feel of soapstone to the lovely shades of blue and green
found in turquoise. He could have made all rocks the same,
but even granite comes in colors!
Shells, whose intricate whorls and smooth
pearly interiors, tinted pink and yellow and purple, house
mollusks who cannot even see the loveliness that surrounds them.
Animals, from the tawny
majesty of lions to the sleek smoothness of dolphins
to the goofy assembly that is the duck-billed platypus.
To find my creativity, all I need to do is
consider the creativity of the One
who made me. Then, I cannot help but draw (with
words) the wonders I see and hear and smell in the world of His
creation that surrounds me.
Betty Winslow, Bowling Green, Ohio, lover of both the Creator
and His creation
My creativity comes from my friends, especially
the amazing writing group that I am fortunate to have joined.
I listen to their free-writes and am in awe of their ability
to transform words into gorgeous vistas that take my breath
away and transport me to other times and other places.
My creativity is garnished from snippets
overheard in the grocery store, or a tantalizing conversation,
or a shrug. I receive moments of clarity and flashes of lucidity
when digging in the garden. It looks like I'm calmly pulling
weeds but I'm really absorbed in a past conversation, usually
in the form of, "I wish I would have said. . . "
My creativity sparks when I'm driving, especially
while waiting for the light to turn green. Behind the wheel
I come up with the most brilliant solutions to perplexing
problems. Too bad I can't remember those satisfying solutions
after I reach my destination.
My creativity arrives from resources such
as Tiny Lights and
especially Searchlights & Signal Flares. Flash in the Pan is going to be another
gem in the Tiny Lights
treasure box. I float on a bubble of inspiration after reading
excerpts such as Christine Falcone's "What
keeps me going as a writer?" Searchlights
& Signal Flares (May 2003)
image of a homeless couple sitting on the bolted-down chairs
outside Jack-in-the-Box waiting for the doors to open so they
can use the public restroom; the image of a pregnant nun or
a once beautiful burn victim, her face now unrecognizable;
headlines about infidelities, faked suicides, elaborately
planned robberies; all the stories, images, symbols-the music
of everyday ordinary life. It's my
need to record those things, explore the nuances of a personality
or the dynamic of some relationship (usually dysfunctional-in
fact, the more dysfunctional the better) that keeps me going
as a writer. "
My creativity flows freely among treasured friends
and the gemstones of the written word. And for that, I am
Marlene Cullen daydreams
in her garden in Petaluma, California and warns others to watch out while she is driving
because she is never really sure where she is heading.