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Wally World

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.

In our last creative exploration, we took up our brooms to catch a creative updraft. I bet a few of us felt like witches on a Halloween candy rush! We used brooms to clear away the old and make space for the new; we engaged in physical and metaphorical acts of creative preparation.  

Did you discover a dance partner for your day, and a few minutes of rhythm and inspiration while sweeping your front porch or kitchen? How many of you summoned the rock gods with a divinely inspired guitar solo? Maybe you went full creative and designed the perfect kitchen gadget that writes recipes, cooks the meal, then cleans up the kitchen. If you did, let’s get together and make an infomercial!

This week, we turn our attention to an object that’s a bit less portable than what we typically handle in this column. To find this week’s creative nudge, step outside or look out a window. It’s something often seen as a barrier but also canvases for expression and reflection: walls. Often made of nearby materials in an endless variety of shapes and sizes, walls serve not only to divide and protect but also tell stories about cultures and peoples. They can be symbols of separation or expressions of art and history.

Ready to give yourself several minutes of creative contemplation? Then try one or more of these AI generated and human approved activities:

  1. Writing on the Wall: Choose a wall that intrigues you and write a story or poem inspired by it. This narrative exploration could be about the people who built it, the ones it protects, or the ones it keeps out. 
  2. Wall Painting: If you have the opportunity, engage in a mural painting on a wall. It could be a small section of a wall in your home or a community project. Focus on how your painting interacts with the wall's texture, history, and surroundings. Explore where murals start and graffiti ends…
  3. Sculptural Exploration: Create a small-scale model of a wall using clay, cardboard, or other materials. Experiment with different designs and consider what each style communicates. 
  4. Photographic Study: Take a series of photographs of different walls. Capture their textures, the way light plays on them, any graffiti or signs on them. 
  5. Kinetic Wall Art: Design a piece of art that incorporates the wall and elements that move – shadows, light, or even interactive components. This could be as simple as hanging objects that cast interesting shadows when the light hits them. This exercise challenges you to see walls as dynamic parts of our environment.

Walls hold within them a world of creative potential…they’re kind of like you and me! As we try a few of these activities, let's reflect on the walls in our lives. They can be barriers, but they can also be connections to new understandings and expressions. 

Just as we used brooms to sweep away the old, let's use walls to build, express, and connect. May the walls we encounter inspire us to think about the boundaries we set, the stories we tell, and the art we create. When given the chance, I hope you climb a wall or two, and with a few friends, knock a couple down where paths are needed instead.

Note: This column written with the help of ChatGPT Plus and related Plugins.