Friday, February 22, 2013

The Creative Process: Introspeciton

I really like being by myself, alone with my thoughts. Mom does too. Don't get me wrong, we like other people... well, most other people. But a real fun time for us, after being with family, is to be alone with books and thoughts figuring stuff out. I've noticed that this is a trait shared by many genealogists and that's good because if you don't like working on your own then I really don't know and can't guess how you'd do genealogy. As a team sport?

It wasn't until I read Eric Maisel's book A Life in the Arts, that I understood how the artist in me - I was a painter at the time - sought out alone time. He writes on page 31:

It's one thing to be intelligent and another thing to enjoy thinking, to relish time spent alone with one's thoughts, to happily muse, imagine, and analyse.

I get it, I do. I get it in my gut. Time left alone to think and look at the issues from all sides. Maisel goes on to point out that artists (and if I can suggest, genealogists as well) are not contemplative because they are at odds with the world. No, rather they are busy trying to figure it out. They like the intellectual pursuit of a stated goal, feeling like they're going somewhere with that thought. It just feels like you're at odds with the world if you can't carve out time to satisfy this urge.

And like artists, the proficient genealogist is better able to exercise their options with a fully developed set of skills. How often have you heard someone looking at an abstract painting say, Oh my kid could do that. Actually, no your kid couldn't do that because you're looking at something that's highly sophisticated and extremely difficult to do. (And yes, all the TV kids you see called Pint-Sized Picasso... all proven FAKE!) Now think of the commercials with the shaky leaves... looks easy, no?

Time alone with your thoughts. Golden. The skills to do what you see needs to be done? Diamonds, all.

Nutshell analysis and the obvious take-aways:
* You like alone time. It's cool.
* Protect that alone time, even demand it if you must.
* Maisel says that this thoughtful "dreaming" keeps us young. Feels that way. Aren't you just a kid in your heart?

Photo of the day from the Archive:

Aunt Christiana (Chris) Kelly Fraley riding a bike and feeling like a kid, about 1942.

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