Monday, June 24, 2013

Cardboard Dragsters - A Cure For The Creativity Blahs

Do you ever get stuck in a creativity slump? Suffer from the soul sucking 'blah' of everyday life-dom? Sometimes a change of scenery helps, but it's hard to find time for a trip to the beach or a few days hiking in the mountains. Never fear - there's a faster fix. An easier fix. Even a cheaper fix. It involves a box and / or a mud pie. (No, not the fancy-schmancy kind - an original mud pie.)

While my husband and I are childless, I have been blessed with nieces and nephews and friends who let me consider their children to be family. Maybe it's because I come and go with these kids, I'm not around them full time, but I'm always amazed at how far and wide their imaginations roam. Get a kid talking about who or what they want to be when they grow up, or the game they're playing, or the bike they're riding, and you'll be astonished at what they can imagine.

Those of you who have kids surely recognize that children are the most creative beings on the planet. Spending some time with a kid in full-blown imagination mode is all you need to refresh your creativity and your soul. And get this: they'll do all the work.

Don't believe me? Go find an empty box - preferably one large enough to hold a kid, like a refrigerator or oven box - and put it in some kid accessible spot. It won't be long before somebody has climbed in and is on their way to Mars; defending a fort in the desert against savage Indians; at Sea World, swimming with dolphins; or racing down a drag strip, tires smoking, engine screaming.

Think I'm nuts? Climb in the box and ask what's going down. Better yet, pull on a helmet and space suit. I'll bet there's room in the ship for that trip to Mars, but make no mistake - the kid is the captain, you're just the first mate. Get ready to take orders.

No boxes? Got water and some dirt? Pull on your play clothes and host a mud pie party. 

(I love cardboard boxes, but who can resist imaginary food? It has zero calories, no cholesterol, and is good for your skin, eyes, heart, overall well-being, and it makes you smarter and better looking. Hey, if it's imaginary, it can be as great as we want, right?)

Mud pies are easy to make and come in a variety of flavors - ask any kid for the recipe. No fancy invitations are required to a mud pie party. Tell one kid in the vicinity and you've told them all. You might be surprised at who turns up. Bakers, shop keepers, kings, queens, elves, trolls, hungry cowboys, space adventurers, famous actresses, singers, even the occasional imaginary farting mouse. (Yes, that happened and fed into a scene in my second novel, AVENGERS OF BLOOD.)

Adults are nothing more than grown-up kids. That child-like wonder with the world is still there, inside you. But its sharp edges get worn down with the day-to-dayness of life, the weight of responsibilities, the exhaustion of routine. Sometimes we need a nudge to remember how to set it free.

When you're feeling those burdens, that 'blah', sit down for a nice slice of mud pie or take a ride in a cardboard dragster. No kids? No worry. Eat that mud pie alone. I won't tell if you won't.


photo credit: Jonno Witts via photopin cc
photo credit: toner via photopin cc
photo credit: Vivatier via photopin cc
photo credit: nubobo via photopin cc


  1. Unfortunately, my idea of a change in scenery these days is going from Triberr to StumbleUpon with a side trip to LinkedIn.

    1. Oh Caleb, you made me laugh out loud! Yes, I've made that trip a few times myself. I seem to remember that you (and the very lovely Linda) have stumbled upon a winery recently. I don't recall any cardboard boxes or mud pies, but I found the evening very refreshing. It must've been the company! We'll have to do that again soon...