Jupiter Looks A Lot Like Utah

Last week, as I was riding home from my Wednesday night writers’ group, I had the next sentence of the story I’d been working on pop into my head, fully formed. It’s been a long, long time since that’s happened. I thought the combo of aging, mental health issues and training my brain to be creative on demand instead of on whimsey had crushed spontaneous creativity out of me.

And then, over the weekend, I dreamed about another story I’ve been tinkering with. I’ll spare you the re-telling, and in return, you’ll revel with me over the exciting plot twist it revealed. And to complete the cliché of good things coming in threes, during my Sunday afternoon writers’ group we were joking and laughing over the constants and re-runs in our dreams (large public buildings such as casinos, airports, malls and flea markets are often the setting in mine). I mentioned how often my dreams have me toddling around an airport in the midst of some mini-disaster of my own making, and then the plane travels to another planet rather than the city I was intending to travel.

My comment, “Jupiter looks a lot like Utah,” inspired a few people to say, “I want to read that sci-fi short.” Whether a suitable story finds me and that title remains to be seen but boy oh boy, it feels good to be creating off the cuff again.

Because I must look a gift bout of creativity in the mouth, that got me thinking. So much gets said about on demand creativity, the whole sit down and write whether you’re feeling it or not mode of getting writing done. I believe in most of what’s said. I will shout from the mountain tops how much it’s improved my productivity.

But it’s odd how little the spontaneous stuff gets discussed and praised. While rando creativity is a poor bet for productivity, it’s monster awesome for the writerly self-esteem. Like grinding on a sentence until it glimmers builds pride. Deservedly so, too. But those random low-effort glimmers, they remind a person there’s something special within. Magic flowing beneath the layers of mundane. The reason I write/create that goes deeper than “I’m good at it”.

Sometimes good at it, anyway. There’s plenty of pragmatic, but kinda-sorta miserable commentary celebrating on-demand creativity. Take from it what you can—finished is better than perfect being a major reminder for me. But don’t forget to play and be happy with your creativity too.

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