Inspiration and Creativity – Emily Eldridge

This month in weekly Formation we’ve been talking about creativity. Last week, we watched a TED talk by Elizabeth Gilbert (the author of Eat, Pray, Love). She talked about the pressures of creativity, and how inspiration used to be seen as something outside of the creator. Genius was something that came from someplace else, choosing to speak through one person or another, not something some people had. I was thinking of her words yesterday when we had a project to do and I said I didn’t have an inspiration gremlin.
All of that is to say that I got home tonight knowing I needed to write a blog post and I had not a single inspiration gremlin for it. Yesterday Henry suggested using my lack of inspiration as a subject for the project, so that’s where I decided to start with tonight’s blog post.
Creativity is not an easy thing, but I often think it comes to me easily. Except, of course, in those moments when inspiration is absent. And while it can be easy for me to create, it gets much harder when you add the expectation that what you create will be shared with others. That was part of the TED talk too: creativity is vulnerability. Especially because genius is now thought of as personal, we feel that what we create is only worth sharing if it’s amazing, and we fear other people thinking that what we create isn’t good.
This also applies to this blog post. Though I am creative in general, a pretty good writer if I do say so myself (I get it from my dad), and – I am coming to realize – I process thoughts best and communicate most clearly on paper, writing blog posts scares me. Writing in a journal, or even publishing an anonymous post, would be a lot easier than trying to find the right words to share.
The TED talk came to the conclusion that you should create anyway. Even if the gremlin isn’t showing up, even if you don’t think what you’re making is good enough: create anyway. So this is my blog post about not knowing what to blog about, and this is the painting an inspiration gremlin showed up for yesterday.20171219_111452.jpg

Dealing With Death – Anthony Suggs

It’s been a little less than a month since my grandmother died, the day before Thanksgiving. She had been sick my whole life and had gotten her “6 months notice” from her doctors around 5 years ago, so we’ve been enjoying lots of extra time since then. The last few weeks had been especially hard with over a decade of reduced oxygen from lung disease taking its toll on her mind. In hospice, she became increasingly delusional and was put on heavy medication to keep her at peace. She passed after two days, in peace, with family around. I wasn’t there for her passing, at least not in person.

For Thanksgiving this year, I decided to drive from Denver to San Diego to visit a good friend from college who I hadn’t seen since around the time of our graduation. This required two full days of driving and lots of energy bars, PB&J’s, fruit, and Doritos in the passenger seat; not to mention a night camping out in my car just outside of Zion National Park. The first day of driving was the day she was put on medication and the second was when she passed. I had been in San Diego for a grand total of 30 minutes when I got the call from my mother. The first thing I heard after that call was my friend’s voice saying, “1/4 of you is her. She’s alive and well in you, right now, right here.” She was right.

Dealing with death is a complicated process and it’s almost never the same for each person or situation, but here’s how I did it and continue to do it. In my situation, her death was a given. Granted, death is a given for all of us, but it becomes much more obvious when chronic illness is involved. However, because of that chronic illness and the idea of extra time after her “6 months notice,” she and I were able to have a handful of moments together where we were positive it would be the last time we’d see each other. Those “see you later” moments really helped me begin the process of dealing with death before it happened. Death often takes us by surprise; but not this time.

With my car in San Diego as the funeral plans were being made, it became apparent that it was not going to be possible for me to make it to the funeral. So, I decided to celebrate her life by continuing to do something she loved: road trips. She and my grandfather were big road-trippers. With their RV, they’d make trips near and far to enjoy creation and time with each other. So, every desert, mountain, forest, river, lake, bluff, rest stop, souvenir shop, and gas station I encountered, I encountered for the both of us. Every picture I took, I took for the both of us. All of it was my own way of remembering  and celebrating her. Dealing with death is never easy, but the only way to do it is to start.