• Louise Roke

Creativity - Don't Push It

It’s been fabulous doing some creative projects again . I must drive people mad as I am one of those people who may start taking off the horrible old dirty wallpaper in the old shack we bought and then start painting some furniture, then be seen measuring for tiles. I can’t keep to one job as my brain seems to spiral out of control with the thought of all these creative ideas that just make me so excited.

The worst part about buying an old dump of a house that was literally neglected for 20 years, was the dirt - no, they didn’t leave it clean, it was filthy. Apart from having to find out that when promised the rubbish would be gone and the place would be cleaned impeccably, it was to say the least, disappointing.

If you have ever listened to my podcast Property Chit Chat, you no doubt know never to assume anything; people can over promise and under deliver. I don’t know why they do it but some people just do. If I did that to people I couldn’t sleep at night personally, but that’s the way some people operate; they seem oblivious to treating others as they wouldn’t want to be treated themselves.

Anyway, once I got through choking for about two weeks (literally) after the fumes from their disgusting carpet downstairs filtered upstairs causing my broken immune system to inflame in rage; I could see the wood for the trees. There was hope.

We had two wonderful German tourists who stayed as workaway guests and literally scrubbed the ceilings, floors and walls - I could finally start to breath again. It really was like an onion; the more I got rid of, the more I could see as I actually couldn’t see much before that.

Once a creator sees something and I guess I can’t even describe it, it is a feeling more so actually. Suddenly I get the feeling there is hope; there is possibility and opportunity to turn something into something more interesting, more beautiful, move alive.

Now the old shack is starting to look beautiful and I really love to give property its personality again. Property to me is feminine; it is sometimes neglected and abused, forgotten, covered up, or stripped down, left to rot, and not appreciated for the shelter, the warmth, the sense of belonging and nurturing. So it almost feels like a responsibility to make her gorgeous again.

But no expensive things here; I have worked with what I have got apart from, of course, a couple of things that needed to be replaced and we do need to do the kitchen and bathroom at some stage too. To see the beauty beneath to bring some love into a house again is really wonderful. Don’t get me wrong, she’s not going to win any pageants but she is starting to glow.

Anyway, the whole point of this story was to talk about creativity. Sometimes you start a project and then the thought you had at the beginning changes, in fact it is unrecognisable. You can let your mind and imagination meander - don’t hold it, protect it, be strict and rigid with it. Let it go where it takes you and smile to see. Look at it as an adventure; a journey to an unknown place. “Oh yes, of course, I could do that, I could add that; actually I’ll change that; this is better… I like that more.” These are all things that may happen; creativity is such a wonderful somewhat of an emotion. Release any preconceived ideas that you have. I was born in a generation where you weren’t allowed to have orange horses and green giraffes; no no… everything had to be as they were; no out-there ideas (even if you did see them in your head bursting to come out) this was not encouraged when it came to art or creative writing.

In this era we also had some teachers who were true bullies and it was just accepted. I had a maths teacher who was so passionate about maths but he taught advanced maths and I hadn’t even got through the basic stuff yet! He had beady eyes and a sharp tongue and he used to wrap the ruler over my knuckles. The stress it caused me as I didn’t have a clue how to do the problems he gave me; it was horrendous.

I was a shy sensitive child; and it ended up with me forming I believe, dyslexia. Yes some people will say rubbish you can’t form it; but I believe I did because it is particularly numbers that I have problems with when I am stressed i.e I will get them around the wrong way. It does happen with words too but I identify it with developing from that teachers' constant threatening, bullying and violence right under the roof of an education centre i.e a school in the early 1970s.

I met a lady the other day and I told her about the creativity class I was attending and what fun it was. I didn’t have a project when I joined and in fact I left it to two days before until I knew I was going; there just happened to be a cancellation so I decided I’d do it even though I was unprepared. “Oh, she said; I’m not creative.” How have we developed a society who would think they aren’t creative? “You will be” I said, “You just haven’t had a chance to find it”. I felt like saying “You haven’t had a chance to just let go, to not over analyse, to not worry about what others think of “your project”, to experiment, to not be perfect…”.

So, next time you are stressed - just paint, draw, write a poem, go op shopping and have a play around. It’s like therapy hands, mind, body drifting somewhere in your mind where there are no rules, no boundaries and no “right” way. Who cares what it looks like, that the lines are not straight or it didn’t come out as you wanted; it is the ability to be mindlessness to let go, to let go, to let go… drift where it takes you and smile...

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