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An Air Affair

A prompt to encourage your practice of creativity this week from Riversider and local author Larry Burns.

Do you need a low stress way to include seven minutes of creative contemplation into your week? Consider this your helpful nudge towards a slightly more creative life. If it helps, come back every week for a quick hit of creative contemplation. Each week I’ll share a new nudge. It will include a Thing (T), a Place (P), and a Sense(S) for your focus, a TPS creative nudge.

Last week, we found a creative pick me up in the change leftover by the small transactions of our day. Did you use a penny to tell your fortune or make an important decision? Perhaps you minted a new one-cent slogan like “it’s the dime’s dime”, changing our perception of what a penny can be! It might not replace the popular quarter as a drinking game accessory, but it can still provide us with a brief creative escape. Whether you built the Leaning Tower of Pennies on your coffee table or composed Homeric narratives for all the pennies wandering the buckling sidewalks of Riverside, I hope you created something valuable with your time.

For this week’s creative nudge, let's shift our attention to an even more intangible yet ever-present force of nature—the wind. The wind is a silent, invisible creative force that touches everything it encounters. It shakes up  the trees, cools us on a hot day, and tells you what the neighbors are cooking. I use the wind to tell time. When a late afternoon breeze picks up in Canyon Crest, I know it’s about four o’clock. 

How about that cool reward of sweat drying on your skin after a good workout? Or the irresistible attraction of a whispered conversation carried by the breeze? Let’s settle in and welcome the wind’s reward. Give yourself enough space to feel a breeze outdoors. If you are working indoors, open a couple windows or run a fan to stir up the air and those creative thoughts. 

Our seven minutes of creative activity invites you to tap into the sensory aspects of wind—the gentle caress on your skin, the sound of it in your ears, and the way it animates the world around you. The wind is hard to control and even harder to predict, but that just makes using it for creative play a little more daring and unpredictable. Let’s channel our inner magician, and make something appear out of thin air with the help of one or more of these handy assistants:

  1. Zephyr Poetry: Take a deep breath, and let the wind envelop you. Describe the sensation of the wind as it brushes against you. It can pick you up or knock you down. What can you say about something that is friend and foe?
  2. Sounds of the Breeze: Tune into wind's gentle melodies, rustling windchimes, whistling between buildings, or scuttling leaves along the pavement. Use instruments, your voice, or digital tools to craft a sonic representation of the wind's unseen song.
  3. Invisible Forces: Reflect on the wind as an invisible force that shapes your world. Create a visual representation (e.g., painting or digital art) that explores the hidden influence of the wind on people, places, or objects. Imagine the wind as refugee: What does it carry?
  4. Put it in the air: Toss blades of grass or leaves into the air and watch them dance around you. Notice the movement and shadows as wind interacts with light and the heat of the sun on your face.

The wind, though invisible, is a constant companion in our lives, revealing itself only through the result of its actions and efforts. In this way, I want to be more like the wind. Through poetry or performance or visual art, we can make the intangible into tangible expressions of creativity.

The few minutes we take today reminds us that inspiration exists everywhere; all around and at all times, there is a breeze ready to take you where you need to go. Like our imaginations, there is no limit to where the wind can go and there is no way to fully grasp its influence and importance in our lives.

Note: portions of this prompt created using the tool ChatGPT.