On New Year’s Eve I crawled around an elaborate tunnel system, climbed through dark caves, barreled down a 7-story slide, dangled from 4-feet-wide wrought-iron slinkies and generally acted like a kid in a candy store. All this excitement came courtesy of St. Louis’ City Museum, a historic shoe factory turned bizarre and very fun playground. The creative folks at the museum have used random, found objects from all around the city to construct their own version of a funhouse. Stainless steel bread pans become wall decor, salvaged tile becomes a walkway, rebar linking abandoned planes become monkey bars, a fire engine and trolley car turn into super-secret hiding places. My knees are bruised up, I have a cut on my nose and a bump on my noggin, but neither I nor my friends wanted to leave this crazy place, where adults are actually encouraged to act like kids. Seriously, Charles, the friendly guy who kept everyone from knocking their heads on the umpteen slides, told us we were supposed to be laughing a lot and acting a little wired and demented and childish. So we obeyed.
It was the City Museum that inspired this year’s work resolution: SpArK My CrEaTiviTY. Like many of us, I have a tendency to get caught up in most pressing demands of my day and get sucked out of a creative mindset. This not only makes me grouchy, but a work mentality that stays head-down and inwardly focused detracts from newer, better, bolder ideas.
How will I add more creativity to my work life? For starters, I’m going to turn off my e-mail for extended periods to devote more time to writing. I’m going to research a little less predictably. I’m going to talk to my freelance writers on the phone more frequently. I’m going to take actual lunch breaks. In my out-of-work life, I’m going to devote more time to reading fiction, something I’ve always loved to do but which has taken a backseat as of late. I’m going to explore taking piano lessons again. I’m going to say yes to many different kinds of cultural events, especially the mind-bending ones. In short, I’m going to be more of an explorer and reflector so that creativity becomes more a part of my daily life, not something that I have to concentrate on and wish for at crunch times. And I’m open to other ideas if you have them!
P.S. Don’t you love these vague and unmeasurable kinds of resolutions? I can definitely see myself succeeding with this one.