Marnie’s posts last week made me start thinking about where my scrapbooking ideas come from. I like that she was purposefully looking for inspiration, and it made me stop and ponder: no, really, where do my ideas come from? Sometimes I do search purposefully for inspiration; sometimes it comes more organically. Sometimes I have to really hunt for my creative spark, and others it’s flaring with excitement.
With those thoughts in my head, I spent an evening (one of those late, I-can’t-sleep-because-my-teenagers-aren’t-home-yet nights) looking through a scrapbook. I was trying to trace my steps—what inspired that design choice or this embellishment?—but what I found myself thinking about were the stories I’d written, and the ones I hadn’t. Where did the impulse come from, to write about the things I chose? How did I arrive at the approach I took for each story?
Then I came upon this layout:
It’s one I did for my last Big Picture class. The title comes from a poem called “Easter Sunday, 1955” and it was published in the April 3, 1995 New Yorker. The poem is about a person remembering her grandmother on an Easter Sunday, and herself as a child, and then looking at her own daughter and realizing, all at once, how time passes and how life just…goes. (It’s actually a fairy concise statement about why we scrapbook, aside from not being about scrapbooking. You can read it on my blog but I’m not 100% certain it’s not against copyright law…click at your own risk!)
Seeing that title made me remember the poem itself, and then the grandmother in the poem, who died of cancer. And a line from the poem: "No one had died yet." It made me think of my mother-in-law, Beth, and of a photo I’d seen pop up recently on the little digital frame app I have on my PC. Not a great photo, technically, but one that struck me with a combination of missing her and wishing her relationship with my kids could’ve lasted longer.
I went in search of the photo, and then (before I even processed it) I wrote the journaling for this layout:
(Then I went to bed because at long last, the teenagers were home!)
At first, when I started writing, I thought I’d make reference to that poem, but my thoughts ended up going a slightly different direction. Still, it influenced the layout enough that I wrote it out and stuck it on the back. (I tend to put a lot of extra stuff on the backs of my layouts.) With the poem’s sentiment in my thoughts, my words came out quickly and with no hesitation. In fact, the entire layout came together quickly.
Looking at them, you’d never know that one sparked the other—photos, design, color, topic, even the fonts are different. But there is something about the tone of both pieces of journaling that is similar.
What do you write about? How do you write it? I think those are the essential questions that guide our journaling choices. My quest for the source of my spark took me on an entirely different journey than I had expected, but that’s OK. I like that it reminded me that ideas are everywhere, and that one can quite often (or maybe usually) grow right out of another one. Following the spark of an idea to its final point is one of the best things about the creative process!
Can you trace the origin of your stories? Does knowing where the idea came from help you find other ideas?