When I was a kid I loved mystery stories. Nancy Drew, Trixie Belden and Meg were my heroines. I always longed to solve mysteries, write with invisible ink and find a secret passage. I'm still fascinated by solving mysteries and the biggest mystery to me at the moment is the creative process. There are days when I make things easily and the words race across the screen as I type. Then there are the days when I just can't get my head around a pattern and the blank screen stares back at my ominously. Creativity in my opinion is a capricious beast at best. This blog is an attempt on my part to figure out how it works so that I have some control over the process. But as you'll see, control can prove to be elusive.
I made these cute little gnomes late last year aiming to use them to teach my daughters the basics of maths. These little math gnomes are well known and loved in the Waldrof (aka Steiner) school system. I'm drawn to the Waldorf method of teaching because it has a focus on natural materials and teaching through engaging a child's imagination. Mostly I just love all the cute stuff you can make for your kids when you get all Waldorf-y. Try typing Waldorf into Etsy and you'll see what I mean.
But I digress. (I'm easily distracted. Just ask any of my family. They'll tell you! Right now I'm supposed to be turning off this computer and getting ready for bed. Oops!!) But back to those cute little gnomes. I had them all finished and ready to go (I even made a little bag for them to go in) and they sat in a drawer of my desk until last week. I needed a story to go with them and I was stuck. I'd printed out a few examples I'd seen on the net but none of them sparked my imagination. I really wanted to see a story being told and watch those little gnomes in action. My motto is: "If you can see it, you can make it."
I ended up asking a friend whose daughter goes to a Steiner school if she could help out. Bless her, she did. She got one of the teachers at the school to send me some ideas. Thanks Sue and S'haila! But I still could not write that damn story. That was until I found a cute little wooden box at the op shop. It's the gnomes' treasure chest. Once I found that, it was like the final missing piece of the puzzle slotted into place and I was ready to write.
Now I'm not really sure which event was the trigger that got my creativity flowing and the story started. It could have been the helpful words from S'haila. Or the op shop find. Or the time I had to mull over the story. Or the fact that I really needed to get it done before my girls reached high school! The inner workings of the creative process still mystify and confound me but I'm happy to say that these little gnomes now have a story to tell.