By now, I have read a lot about creativity. How-to manuals from successful artists are popular (as well as online articles from amateurs) and from what I can gather, there are some common denominators to the creative process. By far my favorite, and the one I use most often, is the bringing together of two disparate ideas to create a third and new idea. This third idea is an idea in and of itself, may contain elements from the first two ideas, but is essentially its own entity. I think we all do this in one form or another. My personal take on this process involves collecting different ideas and seeing what might fit together. Not forcing things but just seeing how the tumblers fall into place (if they do at all which is a post for another day). Sometimes it works and sometimes, well, not, so much.
For the above piece, I was on my walk and the title just kind of popped into my head. From there, I started thinking about some programs I have been watching lately on NOVA. I watched a series of programs about the planets and a couple of documentaries about the Apollo missions-essentially how we got three guys to the moon and back, safely and in one piece. There was also a program some time ago that I watched that had to do with the meteor that scientists think killed off the dinosaurs (and everything else for that matter). I have read a book about evolution and am currently reading a book about Abraham Lincoln and Darwin. In short, I had collected some materials. I think it isn't surprising that the title of the piece, the idea, came to me like it did.
I'd like to say that I wasn't stuck about halfway through but that would be a lie. What I figured out was that being too literal hangs me up. I wanted to duplicate the Apollo 11 spacecraft, all of its components. In the end, it wasn't necessary to be that specific. I also couldn't make the gingko leaves work with the rocket as I had originally planned. So, I had to let go and rethink the idea. I'll pass along this piece of free and good advice: next time you are stuck, ask yourself this question:"If I didn't do this, what else could I do?" In other words, if you let go of a set idea what else could be possible? What else can you make room for? This really works, trust me.
In the end, I was pleased with my thinking. I didn't abandon my original idea but just edited it and added to it. Being flexible enough but firm enough in my thinking helped. I am happy to reference space travel in a general way and ultimately, the piece made me think about quick time and deep time, space travel versus meteors and evolution/extinction.
I'd be curious to know what others get out of this piece. Even if it just appears whimsical and pleasing, let me know.
PS-The blue "shelf" in the lower right corner is a nod to Jackson Browne, songwriter extraordinaire, and his song "Leaving Winslow" in which he sings about the disappearing Greenland shelf.
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