Creativity is arcane and mundane

An update from the workshop bench

Ahoy, well-met, greetings, please come in —

It’s been almost a month since I last wrote, and it is a mystery to me why. I’ve been enjoying writing to you and there are many more words to find and share together. Ah, well, my attention was drawn away. I’m experimenting with consistency this year, and I’d like to write here with a bit more frequency and at a regular rhythm. It will take some practice, but I’d like to take care of this corner of the Internet, keep the dust off the shelves and such. To make up for it, I’d like to share with you a few things that kept me a way the past few weeks—an assortment of works-in-progress on my desk.


➵ Practicing creativity

Sometime last year, I started collecting draft notes on creativity—what I’ve learned, or think I’ve learned, through many years of practicing creativity in varied forms. As I wrote earlier on, this newsletter is ostensibly about creativity, with a special consideration for the work of Christopher Alexander—the Timeless Way of Building, the Quality Without a Name, the Nature of Order… These draft notes and this newsletter flow into one another. Sometimes topics I write in a newsletter become the foundation for a new note, and sometimes a string of notes coalesce into what looks like a newsletter. So, I hope they might be of interest to you. Here are a few highlights and recently updated links:

Creativity is arcane and mundane – “Creativity is special—Creativity is a superpower. It's mysterious and appears magical. Creativity is also mundane. Rather than being inaccessible and rare, creativity is a commonplace skill that can be practiced and improved.”

Practice awareness of the whole - “Wholeness involves more than the thing itself. The wholeness of a building involves the building and the people who live there. The wholeness of a book involves the author and the subject and those who will read it. The wholeness of a painting involves the canvas and the subject and the place it is made—there is a living relationship between the maker, the object, the subject, and the people who live with the object.”

Move at an enjoyable pace - “Rather than measuring pace by efficiency, practicality, or to-do list checks, move at a pace that feels good.”


➵ Ink drawing

As I wait a bit longer for the spring winds to settle down so I can paint outside again, I’ve been making ink sketches.


➵ A word for the year

I’ve chosen a Word for the year—a fuzzy contextual beacon for the months ahead to serve as a rough directionality for navigation when the winds inevitably distract and disorient. This is the second time I have chosen a word (last year, my word was Diver) with the wise guidance of the Choose One Word program by Dr. Jason Fox. I highly recommend trying it yourself. If you do, let me know what your word is! My word for the year is…


Until next week (making a promise now that I will write again soon…)…

❦ P.S.—I’d love to see what’s brewing in your corner of the workshop. My inbox is listening.