Head and Hands...
I’ve been pondering the value of creativity lately.
It’s a peculiar topic for me, because as a writer, I am creative for a living. Knitting has always served as a counterpoint to my labor of words, the “anti-writing” that recharges me to continue writing.
I heard a piece on the radio the other day about Helen and Scott Nearing, icons of the back to the land movement and authors of The Good Life. While there are a host of policital/social views offered in the book, I was most intrigued by their concept of a ideal day, divided into three blocks of distinct pursuits. Labor to earn a living (in which they highly valued manual labor), civic-community pursuits, and professional/recreational activities. Hands, head, and heart, as it were. I was fascinated by their “three blocks of four hours” concept–it explains why my day feels incomplete if I haven’t had time to knit.
I’m stymied, however, by their lumping together of professional and recreational pursuits. They are very distinct for me. And yet, my profession creates other people’s recreation, and I know my profession is considered recreation by many (clearly folks who haven’t seen me near a deadline!). In short, separate my professional creation from my recreational creation.
I don’t write to relax, although some people do. It got me thinking; would I write for fun, if I only had to do it when I felt like it? Yes, I think so. Writing about knitting is fun for me. That’s not to say writing novels isn’t fun–it is enormously satisfying, but it’s work. It’s hard.
But wait, these mittens are work. They’re hard. And I am on a deadline of sorts, knowing you all are watching. Where’s the difference? The interesting thing is that I know there is a difference, but I’m not at all sure what that difference is. If I could knit for a living (oh, the joy!), would it become similar to what writing is for me now?
All I know for certain is that I must have both. They balance each other out, head and hands, in my day. I’m sure I would feel incomplete if I lost the ability to do either.
Makes it poignant, when you think about it, that I’m pondering this as I tax my head power to serve my hands with toasty mittens.