This morning, while waiting for the #1 CTA bus to take me to work, I was staring at the view above. I snapped this picture with my phone because I wanted to remember what I was looking at when this thought came into my mind: C r i s p y A i r.
At 8:30 am, on October 30, the air that was book-ending my cheeks was crispy. And I had never quite experienced crispy like that. Sharp. Clear. Precise. Dry. This air was unique. Different from summer air, which is more moist, and petal-like. Different from winter air, which is more biting, and crystal-like. Then I had an associative thought about Monet’s Haystacks. “Oooh, I could write a series of poems about air during the different seasons!” I felt like I had just had an inspired thought. An original thought. Which is why I took the picture, to seal that moment of mind-conception.
But then, it happened.
The thing that has been happening to me for the last several years. When a creative idea pops in my head, I feel a compulsive (and self-sabotaging) need to google it… to see just how many people have had that same idea before I did… to see just how unoriginal my thinking really is. And, ultimately, to see why adding my own interpretation of that creative idea is really just adding to the Universe’s slush pile of creative ideas. I start over-identifying with the jaded King Solomon who, in the first chapter of Ecclesiastes (verses 9 and 10), declared:
“What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.// Is there anything of which one can say, “Look!” This is something new”? It was here already, long ago; it was here before our time.”
Buying into that kind of futility is what led me into creative paralysis. I am oh so grateful to finally get this. My version of reality is valuable. And so is yours. And so is the other 3,679 other folks who have something to say about “crispy air.” Versions and variations are the stuff the world itself is made of. Trees. Ice-cream flavors. Fabrics. Authors. Songs. Healing modalities. Whatever the sphere, industry or expression… it is all multiplied beauty!
New or not, I’m going to start incubating my ideas instead of aborting them.