Matt W Cook

writer.former fundamentalist.christianly fellow

Tag: action

Sliding Up

All my life I was cautioned against doing things, not because those things were bad, but because they could have led to bad.

Don’t drink because you might become a drunk.

Don’t watch Nova because you might become an atheist.

Don’t have sex because that could lead to dancing.

Don’t open your mind because your brains may fall out.

Seeds of fear, sown from childhood on.  Not from my parents, interestingly enough, but from teachers and preachers.  You’ve felt them.  You’ve probably sown some yourself.  People live in constant fear and refuse to do things they’d like to try purely on the grounds of what they may want to try next.  Fear of the slippery slope.

But can’t the slippery slope go the other way, too?

If I walk to work instead of drive, could that lead me to a healthier lifestyle?

If I cut down on my clothing expenses, could that lead me to a less materialistic attitude?

If I write up a cheesy scene about a guy on a bus, could I write something bigger some day?

I’m not afraid of the slippery slope anymore.  I used to be.  I’d turn the channel whenever a science show came on, fearing I might become an atheist again and go to hell because I guess God hates it if you think the universe is as old as it looks.  I’d stay away from booze because, even though I have a normal person’s self-control, I figured I might become a raging drunkard.  I said ‘no’ to many good things, purely on the grounds of where they might possibly maybe lead me in the future.  It was a stupid fear.  A self-destroying fear.

I think the slippery slope concept is true, but mostly in the opposite way.  You want to excel at something?  Start it.  The slope will carry you.  Because your spirit wants to soar.  The universe wants to hear what you have to sing.  Just start sliding.  Walk to work one day a week.  Get up early to pray or meditate for a couple minutes.  Write that cheesy bus scene that’s been in your head.  It’ll take you somewhere.

Things That Make Me Creative

Things that aid my creative spirit:

  • Quiet. Peace. Silence. Stillness. There is something holy when you are alone and still. And when things gets holy, wild stuff happens.
  • Noise. There is even more holiness in noise! The bustle of a coffee shop. The movement of traffic downtown. Kids in a park. Noise is a product of life and it gives some of the best creative energy I’ve tasted.
  • Mysticism and Meditation. I’m a spiritual person. When I retreat into prayer and mindful meditation, I connect myself with the Divine. Sometimes I verbally pour out my spirit. Sometimes I merely sit and breathe with mindfulness. Sometimes I use a mantra. Whatever path I take, touching God is a beautiful, energizing thing.
  • Wandering. Literally. I wander around the house. I wander around my neighbourhood. No plans or goals. No thinking. Just wandering. And, as I go, my muse starts walking beside me. I say ‘hi’ to her. She says ‘hi’ back. And suddenly she’s telling me about all the neat things she’s been thinking about.
  • Tea. Green. Steeped for two minutes in 80 degree water. Any longer and it’s bitter. Green tea does wonders for my soul.
  • Diet. I cannot do anything creative or useful after eating something deep fried. A (relatively) consistently healthy diet has energized all my creative endeavors.
  • Reading. I can’t produce if I don’t consume. All the great writers disagree on how writing gets done, but they agree on this point: If you don’t read, you won’t be able to write.
  • Doom II. Quick, mindless, plotless video games. I unplug for ten minutes and come back to my work refreshed and sated.
  • Yellow Notepads. When I’m stuck, out comes the notepad. Things become unclogged when I’m scribbling and drawing arrows and lines and plotting things out.
  • Sleep. Sometimes it’s not about laziness or a lack of drive. Sometimes I’m just tired and I need a nap. And I refuse to feel guilty about it.

What drives your creativity?