Finding Fossils: Creative Digging: A Guest Post by Ken Robert of Mildly Creative
Published on September 25, 2009
Only one day left till the big event–Creative Dig Workshop!!!…today we’ll be getting the studio ready and I’ll be visiting with old friends in the evening. A big huge thank you and hug to Ken Robert from the absolutely Creative Juicy blog Mildly Creative for sharing his nuggets of Creative wisdom here at Dirty Footprints Studio today. What a HUGE honor….I love the way this chico writes: with great honesty and sincerity to living a Creative Juicy Life.
What do you find when you dig through your creativity?
That’s the question Connie asked me to address, and here I am, a week later and a full day past the deadline, still trying to craft an answer.
The question, I’ve decided, is slightly askew. Creativity isn’t something I dig through. It’s something I dig for.
Like a paleontologist digs for bones, I dig through the layers of my memories and emotions in search of the missing link. I never know what I’m going to find, and sometimes I come up empty, but I dig nevertheless, and that’s what the creative life is all about – a commitment to dig a little deeper each and every day.
Sometimes I find the remnant of a distant recollection. A car ride with my father, a photo of the brother I never knew, a moment of embarrassment in a first grade class room. When I dig them up, I find only pieces, the skeletal remains. But from these pieces, I try to reconstruct what took place or I mix and match them to create something new which is something a paleontologist never gets to do.
Sometimes, I hit a patch of resistance or open up a vein of fear. If I give up or run away, the dig ends, but if I stay with it, if I dig through it, I often find something valuable: a dream, a purpose, or maybe a strength I didn’t know I had.
And much like the painstaking work of removing a fossil from the rocks, creative excavation often requires that I slow down, take my time, and pay attention to the details. That’s why I started drawing. It requires me to see things I’d otherwise miss. That’s why I write. It requires me to think about what I’m going to say. I don’t just dig; I sift.
I sift through questions. I sift through puzzles. I sift through the parts of myself and my world that I don’t understand, and sometimes I find clues to the mysteries that seem to constantly call out to me. Who am I? Where did I come from? How did I get here? Where am I going? What will I leave behind?
And when I find these pieces, I share them. I do so because it’s my assumption that I am not alone. I assume you’re looking too, and I assume that what I’ve found might be of interest to you. I assume that these memories and emotions and pieces of the puzzle contain something we all share as members of the same creative tribe, the human race.
That’s the work of the poet and the painter, the sculptor, the photographer, the musician: to dig and find the pieces that reveal what it is to be human. It’s sweaty work at times, but ultimately beautiful, and I hope I never forget it.
Ken Robert is a writer and creative digger. You can see some of the things he’s dug up at his website, MildlyCreative.com.
Peace & Love.