Doh’! That’s gonna leave a mark
My focus from the beginning has been on creativity. I am constantly thinking of – and jotting into a notebook – blog post ideas, character traits, phrases I hear, historic people or events to look up on the internet, books I want to read or re-read, movies I want to see or see again, recipes to try, photos to dig out, people to call, cards to mail, and so on. It is a 24/7 volley of tennis ball ideas.
I make lists to keep all these creative balls aloft. I’m afraid if I don’t keep track I’ll lose something, so I write them down, usually with pencil (because ink, like superglue, has never been a safe bet in my hands). Every note is shorthand for entire visions, which makes my notebook a mash-up of what goes on inside my brain. This is my creative process, and it leaves a mark.
I look down at my hands and see the tell-tale sign of a writer – a bump on the first knuckle of my middle finger. It’s from gripping a pencil and I’ve had it for as long as I can remember. Writing has left a mark on me, just like the calluses on the fingertips of a guitarist. How many songs came from those calluses? How many words from my bump?
There are marks on the inside, too. Writing is my creative outlet, my craft, my imperative, which is why it takes me so long to write a simple e-mail. I will compose an e-mail to death. Even the topically mundane. I want each to be a perfect communication, polished to a shine without the real or figurative “um’s” and “uh’s” prevalent in modern English (speaking of, “Melt With You” might be one of the greatest love songs of the ‘80s. See why I need a notebook?)
Practicing your craft changes how you approach the world – it marks you inside and out.
If our own creativity marks us, inside and out, then that creativity must mark others, too.
When hearing a song nearly three decades old conjures the yearnings of a junior high dance, that is Modern English’s mark on me.
When during a blazing July I read A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich and shiver in a gulag, that is Solzhenitsyn’s mark on me.
When I look at my husband’s photographs from our Adirondack adventures and feel the peace of a swaying meadow, that is his mark on me.
The Story Behind Our Bumps
When we create, we tell a story. And when we tell a story, we connect.
Connection means our hearts and minds belong to each other. It becomes marked territory. Forever.
So when I look down at my writer’s bump, that mark of a lifetime with a pencil in my hand, I wonder – have I made any marks on the people who have read my words?
How has creativity marked you?