Thursday, July 14, 2016


Have I ever told you how I wrote essays in high school for senior English? (No?!? Well, today's the day.)

They were called "themes" in those far-off days. The title alone was supposed to inspire us to keep to a subject or theme for the writing.

English class met at 1:00 PM. I'd finish a cafeteria lunch and by 12:30 I'd be in the school office, tapping away on a spare typewriter. This machine sat alone, away from the work area, on a small table by a wall. Other people milled around--secretaries at their desks, talking on the phone; students slouching up to the counter with "notes from home"; teachers striding through a side door to check their mailboxes, pick up mimeographed hand-outs or (egads!) quizzes.

I sat at the lone typewriter and typed (using all 8 fingers and one thumb) my words of wisdom, my flights of fancy, my requisite 300 (or whatever) words. People and noise and turmoil surrounded me. I heard nothing. I was a small-town Lois Lane, award-winning journalist for The Daily Planet.

At 12:55 I ripped the paper from the platen, folded it in half lengthwise, wrote my name on the outside (inside I'd typed it at the top of the essay), and sailed off to class.

Well, that was then.

This is now:

Thursday morning, around 9 AM, I feel my shoulders drop, my breath evens out, and I look around and see the world has, indeed, been there all along.

Before that 9 AM epiphany, I've been typing, and retyping, reading and rereading, the blog post I've developed over the past six days.

As soon as I hit the Publish button on the blogger dashboard, I'm liberated from that piece. I'll read the comments, make replies, and then the whole thing is history. The search for a new topic is on.

If I'm lucky, and my stars are in the proper configuration, I'll get a hint of an inkling early in my week--that is to say, on Thursday afternoon, Friday, or Saturday. Sometimes there's nothing until I go to an appointment during the following week--I hear a phrase or catch part of a conversation or read an article in the waiting room magazines, and there's a spark in my creativity center. Whether that spark lives long enough to fan into flames is another matter entirely.

A recent example: my doctor and I range far and wide in our conversations. (I believe she's secretly assessing my mental health, but haven't had the nerve to ask.) Last time we talked about the ideal office staff--any office--which she'd read should include people from all the "generations"--Baby Boomers, Gen X-ers, Millenials. This led to a discussion of our experiences in various groups (not just office staffs). When I left, I had an Aha! moment--this would make a good blog post.

Five minutes of research on the Internet killed that idea. I discovered much disagreement among sociologists and other -ologists about beginning and ending birth dates for each group; that former tags, like "latch-key kids," are a part of the Gen X group; that where and into what socioeconomic level one is born determines many characteristics of individuals, not just the when. And on and on.

When one idea withers away, there has to be another one to plant and nurture. Thus, today's post about the process behind what you read each Thursday.

Over the years my levels of creativity have changed--yes, creative possibilities abound, new directions beckon--but the act of creating isn't as effortless as it was when I was 17 writing drivel (I mean, essays) for senior English. In the intervening years I've been dealt responsibilities and duties to handle to the best of my ability. So  have we all. 

But that doesn't mean creativity--creative thinking--stops. Creativity informs all, so it's always there, undergirding, always available, when we're confronted with something to solve. We learn to adapt--we find answers when we can--we seek out advice and wisdom from people who might be able to help us.

I never got to be Lois Lane, and I no longer lament that fact. Instead, I got to be a wife and mom and a teacher and a church musician and a blogger . . . . And it's all good.

Have a creative week!


  1. I used to write a newspaper column in two hours--often less. The sad thing is, when I go back and read them, some of them LOOK like I wrote them in two hours. Not quite drivel, but not quite good, either. :-) Great post, Judith.

  2. Fortunately you went on to write wonderful novels about small town folks falling in love and having troubles and outliving their pasts and . . . well, just great stories. Forget about the columns--keep those fingers on the laptop. (PS--I like your blog posts, too, so keep those going.)