Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. – Steve Jobs
Creativity suffers under stress.
Stress clouds out interesting ideas and blocks the avenues of creative thought. Your mind gets fixated on burden of the moment and seems to shut the door on everything else. Maybe that’s why sometimes you can’t see the solution to your own problems. You go into survival mode and being creative and clever becomes less important. You can no longer make the connections which lead you down the creative path.
I don’t know if that’s true for anyone else, but it certainly has been true in my life. This blog is a good example. When I’m under pressure not only is it hard to write well, but it’s also hard to take pictures. There’s more to photography than just clicking the button. Any monkey can press the shutter button. But having the proper white balance, aperture, and shutter speed, that takes real skill. Then combining your proper settings with interesting composition, that takes attention to detail. And then pulling it all together is a creative process that demands full attention, especially for the beginner, like me.
Yesterday was one of those days when I doubt I have any ability with a camera. I took some pictures on my run. They were all terrible. Every. single. one. I was just a running monkey clicking a button. My three miles yesterday were rough too. I’m on the brink of some sort of upper respiratory virus and my breathing was labored. It was actually a run, walk, run. But more than that, it was my second run this week on our property. I don’t mind, but I think it’s a lot to ask of myself to find interesting pictures on the same stretch of land in the same week. So I’ve decided to relax my standards – specifically as it relates to running on our property. I think it would have been just fine to run camera-less yesterday since I had a picture at the house earlier this week.
The last few days have been complete chaos too. Our dog, Lou, found her first skunk on Thursday. The skunk won. And it didn’t just fire its putrid spray on the dog, it bombed the side of the house too. The entire house was filled with its wretched smell. Two days later, after washing the dog, clothes, cleaning the house from top to bottom, not to mention the excessive use of Yankee candles, it is mostly gone. Although, I feel like I can still smell it in some places. Meanwhile our daughter came down with this cold-cough-something, which she generously shared with me. And of course that’s all on top of normal home operations of getting dinner on the table, homeschool, and general life.
Honestly, it’s no wonder the pictures from yesterday’s run were awful. When I started my run, I was tired and my mind felt blank. There were no good ideas, no creative angles, no connection of ideas. Just numb running and blind pictures. At the end I felt beaten. The skunk won. The virus won. I had nothing.
So instead, I’m sharing these pictures which are from yesterday too. We were in the middle of school when the dog started barking and I looked out the window and saw that the range was on fire – Fort Riley range, that is. This is directly across the street and I wish I had gotten a picture right after they lit it because there was a wall of flames right outside my window. The fire department was doing their controlled burn for this sector of the range. I was so thankful the wind was blowing the smoke away from the house. The last thing the house needed was to smell like smokey skunk. I’m sure the firefighters were thinking, “Who is this nut with the camera?” They didn’t say anything though. It just looked so cool with the smoke blowing through the trees.
Since these aren’t true picture run pictures, I’m adding them to the general gallery instead of the March album. In case you haven’t seen it, the gallery is now populated with my favorite non-picture run pictures. Some of these have been posted to my facebook page. Please check them out. The icicles are some of my best work.