Sunday, November 28, 2010

Creativity - Kieran Kramer

Creativity. Where does it come from? I mean, honestly. Don't you ever wonder? Why is it that sometimes an idea just pops into your head—a cool, great idea? I'd like to say mine always occur when I'm totally at ease, in sync with the universe. Sometimes they do. But other times, my best ideas happen when I'm agitated or frustrated or just plain tired.

I wish I could see a distinct pattern, some ebb and flow, a rhythm—something!--but I don't. My state of well-being seems to have little to do with my ability to be creative, not just in my writing but in other arenas, too.

After years of wondering, I'm starting to think I see no pattern because…maybe the essence of creativity can't be pinned down. It's unknowable. Random. Mysterious.


Here we are headed toward Christmas, so I'll tell you about one magical creative moment I had: the family Christmas card, 2007. My husband, a reservist, had been unexpectedly called up to Afghanistan for an entire year and was given less than the usual notice. We were not prepared! He left two days before Halloween. I was a good military spouse on the outside, but of course, on the inside, I was not my usual self. I had to make major changes and was still trying to find my balance.

Enter my kids wanting to make a Christmas card in early December. Without a moment's hesitation, I saw in my mind's eye exactly what we would do: we love the Beatles, so we'd remake the Abbey Road album cover. I felt a burning need to do this thing immediately, so I took an hour to go to Good Will and look for a white coat. I was going to be John Lennon. Our youngest would be Paul: I decided to put a candy cane in his hand instead of the cigarette Paul had held in the real Abbey Road picture. Our daughter would carry my husband's military jacket over her shoulder to represent him while he was in Afghanistan (George had carried a jacket in the original). And then to make the photo really our own as well as a message of Christmas goodwill, our super-tall "Ringo" carried a sign that read, "Peace on Earth."

Well. You should have seen the cars slowing down to watch us as we took pictures!!

That Christmas card is the best one we've ever done.

Yes, the resolution isn't very good. I had a terrible camera and an inexpert photographer in the sweet teenaged neighbor who snapped the picture, but the feeling I get when I look at that Christmas card is one of total exhilaration. And we weren't the only ones who loved it. Perhaps our friends and family loved it out of sentimentality—after all, they care about us. But still. That picture shows one thing but means something much deeper. My kids and I had taken the loneliness and yearning we felt knowing we would have Christmas without their father and my husband and transformed those difficult feelings (which take up a lot of negative space) into something proactive and positive.

So where did that special creative energy come from in the case of the Kramer family Christmas card, 2007? Obviously, the Beatles had inspired us. But why did my conscious mind instantly pick that Abbey Road image out of the millions I had stored in my brain?

Who knows? There's no scientific equation that will explain my choice.

The cool thing about creativity is that—whatever Muse inspires us, whether it's a smiling old man, the setting sun, a dandelion, a burst of strong emotion, or a Beatles album cover—the creation, however humble, is bigger than the sum of its parts.

Thanks to the magic.

May the magic of the holiday season bring you and your loved ones all kinds of joy!



Mary said...

That's such a great idea. Cute picture to have and look back on.

We haven't had a Christmas picture for a card taken since my daughter was little.

Lil said...

What a fabulous idea for a Beatles loving fan. Very clever.

Kieran Kramer said...

Thanks for stopping by, Mary and Lil! I hope you both have a great week--my book Dukes to the Left of Me, Princes to the Right comes out on Tuesday, so it'll be a big creativity celebration week for me.

Kieran :>)

Martha Lawson said...

Great card! How original. I wish I had the creative gene. Completely passed me by, that's the reason I admire authors so much.

mlawson17 at hotmail dot com

Michele L. said...

Wow! I love your photo card Kieran! That really is a cool snapshot! I think it turned out really well! Creativity is a good thing!

Kayla Perrin said...

Hi, Kieran! Looong time! Hopefully you got my recent email. What a fluke for me to find your blog after sending that.

Love your cover, and what a great title! Congrats!

Pat Cochran said...

We're Beatles fans, too. In fact,
the children of Son #2 & his bride
all have names with Beatle connec-
tions: Abbey, Jude, Julia Michelle,
Paul, Sadie Mackenzie. Magical
names for some really magical men!
BTW, loove the photograph! Our best
to your husband, we pray daily for
our troops!

Pat Cochran


Christina Hollis said...

Great idea, Kieran - you'd need a big big family for Sergeant Pepper, though!

GladysMP said...

It is hard to realize the magnitude of the Beatles effect on music. Loved your card and it carried such a personal message.

ev said...

What a great idea and it turned out beautifully.

I think we have enough family to do Sgt Pepper. Getting everyone together would be a whole different problem. Photoshop???

Kieran Kramer said...

Wow, thank you, everyone, for stopping by and leaving such nice comments! I'm glad you like Abbey Road. Thing is, it's hard to top that!

Kayla, how fun to see you here! Yes, I wrote back and I hope you got my email!

Pat, that is SO cool about all the grandchildren with Beatles' names! Thanks for your kind words about the troops--I'm lucky. My husband is home now.

Everyone else, I have really enjoyed your comments, too. Thank you for visiting!!! And peace to all of you this holiday season!!!!


Kieran :>)