Tag Archives: Creativity

Mud Season


You’re a write eejit when you love to play in the mud.

It’s that time of year where I live. A few days of rain and sleet have melted the foot or so of hardened snow and ice and turned the top layer into a gelatinous, brown mess. I didn’t get out early enough for my run through the woods and the icy ridges that I can usually balance on had turned into a mushy quagmire. I came home up to my uxters in mud.

There’s always a stage in a project where it turns to mud. Each direction you look you’re wallowing in muck. How did you get here, and more to the point, how are you going to get out?

It’s all a matter of perspective, folks. Once upon a wet, misty day in Ireland—yes, that could be any day, but this one was particularly memorable—I was six and my eldest sister, eight, and our parents took us for a hike up a mountain in Connemara. (In Ireland you don’t sit around waiting for the rain to stop, otherwise you’d never go anywhere or do anything.) So there we were, the four of us, being pummeled by gale force winds on the top of a craggy peak, the car was a tiny speck far below us with acres of steep, godforsaken bog and sheep tracks between us and the chocolate bar I’d left stashed under my seat. My short legs were already aching, and my Welly boots full of sludge from falling in one too many bog holes. What’s a girl to do? As we slipped and slid our way back down the mountain, rapidly becoming more and more covered in mud and soaked to the skin, my mother gave up trying to keep us upright. “All right, girls, go for it!” That was all the encouragement we needed. My sister and I rolled down the rest of that mountain, bumping through tussocks of bog cotton and cushiony pillows of heather. By the time we reached the car we were beyond saturation point. My mother stripped us off and wrapped us in scratchy wool blankets, and we sat grinning all the way home, munching chocolate.

You see, sometimes you just have to embrace the chaos, not wallow in it. As the gardener and the potter and the writer knows, if you’ve got mud, you’ve got substance. It’s ripe for growing. But first you’ve got to play a little. Revel in the chaos, and then slowly, slowly, let it take shape.

The Ramblings of a Write Eejit

I’m a write eejit . . . if I think I stand a chance of competing with all the brilliant people out there blogging about how bloody brilliant they are.

So, here’s what I’m proposing: I sneak in the back way. Instead of wit, Pulitzer prize-winning writing skills, and amazing connections in the blogosphere, I’ll use good old self-deprecating humor. The Irish are brilliant at poking fun at themselves; they raise it to a fine art, think of Samuel Beckett or Graham Norton.

By definition, self-deprecating means I’m going to have to talk about myself—a lot! Who else’s head can I crawl inside and poke around in, lifting flaps of skin here, squinting down bundles of neurons there, looking for a snugget (even smaller than a nugget) of enlightenment?

And on the subject of enlightenment—be honest, folks, who isn’t looking for the answer to that Big Question, Why Are We Here? I mean there’s got to be a reason that gobs of oxygen and hydrogen and nitrogen and (okay, I didn’t get chemistry, but I was very good at biology) all came together in such perfect harmony (think Coca-Cola Christmas ad) and allowed us mortals to flower into existence. Or why a particular batch of DNA soup produced me. So, I hear you ask, what is that reason?

To think our way out of the box, of course. If you don’t know that yer a right eejit.

Let’s face it, thinking outside the box is the only way forward. Early man could have made a mental note to avoid that stretch of river bank where the ooze sucked you in up to your knees, but instead he scooped up a handful and squeezed it between his fingers, feeling its smooth elasticity and bingo, he got a crazy idea . . . he could shape this goopy stuff into a pair of cupped hands and the dense clay would hold things, like water, grain, and berries. Actually, truth be told, it was far more likely early woman was sitting on the river bank trying to snag a few minutes peace and quiet while the kids were happily making mud pies when she had her eureka moment.

Either way, it—creativity—happened, and civilization took a step forward.

I firmly believe we all have that deep-rooted creativity in our genes. Of course it manifests itself in myriad ways in say, the tech world, the business world, or art world. But it’s the driving force behind progress. The reason we’re here is to get creative. What are you waiting for . . . off you go now and get busy with the glue gun, or the pen, or the spade, or the drum machine.