Last week, I bumped into a friend at the mall. We wandered around the housewares section of Macy’s department store (I have a thing for pretty dishes, and even though I don’t really need anything I still love looking), talking and laughing. We came upon a bed that was made up with this bedding:
I swooned! It’s seriously lovely. “I want this bedding,” I told my friend, “except I want to make it.” We sat right down on that bed, in the middle of Macy’s, and I admired the textures and the colors (silver, gold, yellow, and grey: I would’ve never thought to put those colors together) and plotted out how I would make it. Then I laughed because really: I have literally three quilts right now, in various stages of development, and two that I am accumulating fabric for. I really don’t need to start working on another quilt before I finish the ones I started.
So our conversation turned to the act of creativity itself. I love that first flush of excitement, when you stumble upon or dream about or work to discover a new idea, when you’re tingly with anticipation. I love the process of making, be it an essay or a poem or a quilt or a scrapbook page.
The conversation was fresh on my mind later that day, when I sat down to scrapbook. I started writing the journaling for a photo from last year’s Thanksgiving meal, which I cooked all by myself. And I found myself mixing the essence of my conversation with my friend into the journaling, because really: cooking is another form of creativity. It is making in a fast and short form, in a very temporary medium, but it still (sometimes!) has that same creative rush.
(I think you can also guess at the design inspiration at work here!)
In the journaling, I wrote about how some of the items I made help me feel connected to the people I missed so much at that the meal, with the goal of saying “food connects us to generations” without actually saying it.
I love how it turned out. I love that when I look at this layout, I’ll remember how that Thanksgiving felt—how I was exhausted and energized all at once, sorrowful with missing people but joyful with the family I have created. And I’ll also remember how it felt to make the layout itself, which will also lead me back to my morning at the mall with my friend.
All those layers of memory, caught because of a beautiful bedding set and a conversation!
It inspired me to think about the dialogue I hear around me, and how it might be the spark for the stories I want to tell. As we’re thinking about “looking around” this month, I’ve found myself also considering “listening around.” How might my everyday conversations help me be a better writer or tell my stories in a better way? How might yours?