Jessie: Surrounded by twinkling lights and sparkling snow of mid December New Hampshire

Every year about this time I begin to feel the weight of consumption. Consumption of goods, food, music, all available free time. I look at the to-do lists and calendars and feel the burden of the disconnect I see between them. Invariably I start to think about what all of this consuming means and why it feels so draining. Why does filling yourself with so much from without make you feel so empty within? What is really going on and more importantly, what is the antidote?

Not long ago one of my beloved sisters and I were talking about consuming and the ravages it places upon the soul. I mentioned that what I’ve noticed was that it wasn’t really that consuming of television programming or books or baked goods that was the heart of the problem. It was the fact that all the consuming of things created by others squeezed out time spent creating things oneself. That the way through to morass was not really to worry about lowering consumption but to raise creative production.

I find that I am utterly replenished by creating things. Whether I knit a pair of socks or plan a party or write a few scenes on my latest novel, I am filled with a sense of absorption and delight while engaged in the act of creation. The pleasure lingers long after the time spent in the activity is over. It permeates my attitude, maybe even my aura. Invariably, days where I act as a creator as well as a consumer are happier days then ones during which I simply consume.IMG_1011_2

Which makes me ask why sometimes it is so hard to create? What holds us back? Why are excuses not to try so easy to concoct? Is it perfectionism? Fear? Sloth?

Readers, do you find creating things refreshing? What types of things do you produce? If you don’t, what do you think keeps you from doing so?


15 Thoughts

  1. Creativity = lots of cooking and baking for the assembled family over Christmas, then spending the winter months reading gardening catalogues and planning next year’s selections. Busy brainstorming plots for my next book and two short stories.

  2. Right now I’m in the slogging phase of being creative – that is, in the middle of writing a book. So it’s not that refreshing until something lets loose and I figure out where the book is going next. I do love cooking and sewing, and am definitely not a perfectionist, so that doesn’t hold me back! And I actually feel refreshed by “consuming” a good book that gets me lost in the story.

  3. It is so much easier to consume what someone else has created than to create it for yourself. That’s what I think anyway.

    Personally, when I create something, it feels like a cliche. So I just enjoy consuming what others have done and use reviewing as my creative outlet.

  4. Even time I read the title of this post, I picture “consumption” as a 19th century wasting disease. Though I guess if we think of the other meaning, it could be a 21st century “wasting” disease. I agree that unbridled consumption rarely makes you feel good, and creativity often does. I think it’s hard to spend time in creative pursuits because they require a level of selfishness that it’s hard to practice, even if no one in your life begrudges you the time.

    1. I thought about the alternate meaning of consumption too, Barb and I almost chose another title. But I have such a hard time resisting a one word title! I agree with you about the feeling of self-indulgence of carving out time. That can be a real barrier.

  5. Aw, Jessie… I know. And you create so well, too.

    I think or should say I know, for myself, that creating is refreshing, but mostly when it’s done. While I need the vision before me to keep me at it, sometimes the vision of what I will create is so satisfying that I lose my incentive to do the real work of creating. Because creating is work, it is the vision, itself, that can stop me. Work done is satisfying. Work yet to be done is work.

    Delayed gratification has many destructive temptations. When I was a teenager it went something like this. Do do do do ~ ~ ~ I want to go to the ice cream shop with my friends for a chocolate frappe after school. But if I spend my babysitting money on frappes and ice cream sodas I won’t have enough money for music camp at UNH this summer ~ ~ ~ do do do do. Now it’s more like do do do do ~ ~ ~ I know where they will find the body! Wow! perfectorama. I better map this out a little. Oooooh gee. Outlining. Better go to Starbucks with my iPad and work on it. Kind of late for that now. I’ll think about it tonight and go to Starbucks tomorrow ~ ~ ~ do do do do ~ ~ ~ better read that plotting chapter first.

    1. Daydreaming, imagining and planning are types of creative pursuits too, I think. It sounds like you have enjoyed a lifelong creative conversation with yourself!

      1. Could hardly avoid it. When not otherwise gainfully employed, my father was a writer and actor. My mother was an artist—oils/water colors and synchronized swimmer/coach. I started out as an actor films/theater tech. Turned to academics mental health counseling/psychology/ theology. I like writing of the creative flavor much better.

  6. Somehow didn’t finish my thought before that slipped away! Yes, consumption is very tiring. Creating an inviting environment in my home is satisfying and balances the consumption this time of year. But there is nothing to compare with writing. If only, like Barbara, we didn’t feel so selfish in carving out the time. And if only we didn’t feel so obliged to give up that time in a flash if there’s another obligation calling. What in the world is the matter with us? Sheesh!

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