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Flow and Grow

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.

Can you peel and stick your way to creative heights? Last week we gave it a good try with Post-it Notes, transforming these sticky squares from dull reminders into a mosaic of personal expression and playful exploration. Did you find yourself mapping out the contours of your dreams, folding a miniature zoo of origami animals, or perhaps setting off a treasure hunt that turned an ordinary afternoon into an adventure? Through these activities, we didn’t just interact with paper; we engaged in acts of creation that reflected back our thoughts and moods, hopes and dreams. The process, as much as the outcome, reminds us that creativity flourishes within the limits a small canvas provides.

This week, we pivot to a shiny symbol of modern convenience and a convincing example of the human ability to harness nature for our personal needs: faucets! They control the flow of water, our most essential and elemental resource.  With a little engineering and planning, even an unstoppable force like water can be harnessed and put to good use. Same goes for our creativity. Our mind can go anywhere, but with some structure, helpfully proved by several creative exercises below, we can direct our creativity to do what we want it to…at least for a few minutes. Ready to tap into the fluid dynamics of imagination and introspection?

  1. Stream of Consciousness Writing: Sit by a running faucet to open a stream of consciousness writing exercise, letting the ideas pour out as freely as the water. Notice how the sound and sight of water influences your thoughts. Rest assured, this exercise will not cause a drought! If that’s a concern, use your creativity to capture that run off.
  2. Water Says What: Record the sound of the water flowing, or the gurgling of pipes. Play it back when you're in a different setting. Does the sound inspire different feelings or ideas when you're not in the same room as the faucet? Try combining images and these sounds into a new composition.
  3. Eye Watering: Observe how water interacts with light, objects, and surfaces around the sink. Capture these observations through photography or painting. 
  4. Aren’t We Water, Mostly: Reflect on your personal connection to water. Write about a memory, place, or feeling that water evokes for you. This could be a childhood swimming lesson, a day at the beach, or even the comfort of rain against a windowpane.

As we delve into this week's creative nudge, let's appreciate the power of reflection—not just the kind we might see in a pool of water, but the introspective kind that creativity nurtures within us. The faucet serves as a reminder of the cycles of scarcity and abundance, of the importance of conserving and cherishing our natural resources.

I’m just past the one year mark of this column. It’s been a joy filled surprise to run into readers around town that enjoy this weekly creative nudge. I’m amazed at the creative applications people come up with that me and my trusty GPT didn’t even consider. I bet others would love to hear about them too. I’m inviting you to make this art project a bit more interactive by sharing your experiences, thoughts, and creations in the comments below. I’d love suggestions for future objects to focus on, so share those too!

Together, let’s create a river of creativity, fed by individual streams of experience, reminding us of the endless possibilities that everyday objects hold for inspiration. Looking forward to seeing the ripples of your creativity and where they might lead. Here’s to the flows and ebbs of our creative journeys, to the moments of reflection and discovery, and to the shared waters of our collective imagination.

This column written with the help of a customized GPT from OpenAI. If I can make one, so can you!