Commandeered Creativity

In 3rd grade there was a book (about a dog, but I can’t remember much else) that resided on our classroom book shelf. One day, I took it upon my self to copy the book page by page. I meticulously traced the drawings and wrote out all the words. I worked on this for days, saving all the pages and stapling them together when it was finally complete. I didn’t particularly like the book. I told myself I now had my own copy though, apparently not fully understanding the concept. To my mother’s amazement, at the end of the school year she found the book in my bag. Her child, a genius, to write and illustrate a full book with proper grammar and a continuous story line. I quickly told her I only copied it and though she seemed a bit confused, the subject was dropped.

I’ve considered this story off an on. What an odd thing for anyone to do, let alone a 3rd grader. Yet, today I feel I have some understanding of it, as I sit at my desk on a quiet Friday. The end of the week where most work seems to cease as everyone’s minds prepare for the weekend. The work I do relies on the needs of my coworkers and thus I busy myself with reading articles on Buzzfeed and the New Yorker and sifting through emails I care nothing about. I have trouble letting my mind focus on non-thought provoking things while I sit idly in a structured environment (i.e. work or school). I have a never ending urge to be creating something, anything. I can’t really bring my miniatures, paints, papers, camera, etc. into work and so I find other ways to feel intelligent and creative on these mind-numbingly slow days. I just found myself writing the quotes I like from an article onto post it notes. I then considered what I would do with those little pieces of paper. Place them in my art notebook I conjectured. But why? I know for a fact I won’t flip back the pages, read them and get anything from them in the future. It’s all just a way to dwindle away the idle hours. To commandeer someone else’s creativity until I’m able to work through my own.

11 thoughts on “Commandeered Creativity

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  1. That’s pretty awesome that you did that as a kid. :) It can be so distracting to be wanting nothing more than to create. What’s even more is when you want to create but can’t form the idea into something to act on.

    On the point of your post-it notes, my great-great-grandmother kept a notebook full of quotes she liked, or passages for that matter. My great-aunt recently came across it, knowing I’m interested in knowing more about the women before me and they’re writings she passed it on to me to look over. Inside the cover my grandmother had written that the notebook was so special to her because it’s her grandmother’s handwriting. It’s special to me for this reason as well as the fact that it allows me to learn more about this woman I never knew. I get to see what interested her, impacted and inspired her enough to make record of them. Now I have this wealth of quotes, plenty of which also inspire me. I think there’s much value in your saving your quotes however you do, even if you don’t look over them for quite some time. ;)

    Commandeering with respect through proper citation doesn’t hurt. There are some quotes I wish she’d have noted their author so I can cite them myself, or maybe she wrote them…?

    :D Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us.

    1. Thank you so much for sharing this. I’m sure it’s very special to have that notebook of your great-great-grandmother’s. I do vaguely cite mine, thinking maybe if I do re-read them, I’ll want to know where they came from, or if ever I was to use them as inspiration and wanted to share them.

  2. When I was a kid I labored over collecting stories that appealed to me and meticulously typed them out with a manual Royal typewriter. Those stories are gone now, so I really do think your copying a book is all that odd. When I was 4 or 5 I cut pictures out of a coloring book and made a book for my mom (I have that one). When someone is bursting with creativity it seeps out in every part of your life – even when you are 3 years old. Oh, and by the way, I have been collecting quotes for as long as I have been reading. It is an obsession that I happily surrender to.

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