Mapping My Day

During the second Creativity at Work session, I didn't have a second epiphany. Really, it's probably a lot to ask for every time the three-month program brings people together for a day of creative thinking, hands-on art experiences and relationship building.

I did, however, rediscover a few things about myself, and about the creative process.

For starters, I have high expectations – I was in the room looking for the damned epiphany, right from the get-go. My suspicion is that all of my searching and anticipation makes it more difficult for that big, bright moment of discovery to actually make an appearance – or maybe it just clouds my ability to see the small lessons.

A small lesson like standing paralyzed with nine other people around a table of junk – twists of copper sheeting, broken plastic toys, string. To clarify, I was paralyzed. Everyone else was happily constructing a "writing tool" from the items at hand, as I stood idly by remembering how challenging I've always found it to create something out of nothing. Or out of what's at hand. McGyver, I'm not.

(Except in the kitchen. I manage quite well in that space. And words. Epiphany: I'm not a particularly tactile creative.)

Once our writing tools were done – yes, I managed to cobble something together in the end – we spent some time with artist Amie Oliver drawing lines and maps.

Another lesson emerged when Amie asked us to use our writing tools to replicate our journey that morning to the Visual Arts Center. Why was I the only one who – from the get-go – thought she was asking us to map our metaphorical journey? While everyone else busied themselves with streets and bridges, I went to town with a meandering line that faded in and out over the span of several hours as I wore myself out chasing Thea, hungered for my coffee, dodged raindrops in parking lots and wrestled with complex issues of identity in a technology laden universe.

Oh, you wanted an actual map from my house to the Visual Arts Center? Oops.

In the end, the day was much more interactive and relationship centered than the first session, and I was probably more pleased by that than anything. Gaining a better understanding of the dozen people participating in the Visual Art Center's pilot program, and dabbling in a little self-exploration of my own, is well worth the investment.

I've also got an intriguing little map.