I Had this Great Idea in the Shower

Well, I didn't, but I was thinking about the idea-in-the-shower cliché. About why it's a cliché, and what it signifies.

By default I think of creativity as a discipline, something to apply energy and thought toward, something to push along, whereas in reality it's always, always, something that flows into a space.

A space created, perhaps, by an inability to move around and be distracted. A shower, after all, is limited in stimuli. There's some tile. Water. Products. There's no newspaper, no TV, no radio, no internet. Me. And my thoughts, or even better, lack of thoughts. In a space.

And so yeah, the standard human routine enforces a daily space into which creativity might appear. Which isn't enough, really, for a career in the arts.

So I need a lot of space, but, and I'll venture to speak for many humans, space is a little scary. We have 238567464247983274 little methods to fill space, from 'um' to television, from knuckles cracking to cigarette smoking, from obsession to terminally successful careers.

Because space can let in so much more than some great idea, some creative solution to a problem. As if just emptiness itself wasn't enough, space can let in memories and worries and most of all it can let in the reminder that the past is gone and that the future is unknown and unknowable, and that can be terrifying.

Which I think is why art is hard sometimes. Why I run into so many people who sigh and wish that they could 'be creative'. They can, of course. Happy little trees right there.

Sometimes I've wished, and it's an immature wish, that I'd hit that plateau, upon which life becomes easy, a breeze, effortless. I have not hit this plateau in life, but I'm beginning to see that, as far as creativity, the plateau's right nearby. I just have to summon the right attitude, I'm on the plateau.

Because I've gotten used to space, really. It has gotten easier to be creative. And I thought that ease would come from learning more techniques, absorbing more art, affording better materials, but really the ease has come from setting aside fear of emptiness and uncertainty about the future.

And you know, much like the shower, it's pretty nice.

What's your relationship to space like?