The Hothouse for Creativity

Last week I was talking to a favorite gardener friend.  He was showing me the latest alstroemeria, artemisia, pansies, salvia and something rare and unusual the name of which has escaped me.  He was waxing poetic about the layers and textures and levels and smells and colors, and telling me what will happen later, helping me anticipate even more beauty. It was really fascinating.

I’m not a very experienced gardener, and I tend more towards yuppie gardening (buying things and sticking them in the ground).  So it was particularly enlightening to hear my friend James telling me all about his creative process.  He thinks through and sketches out the garden in the offseason, dreaming about the imagined beauty.  And he uses a greenhouse to take him from idea to execution.  This, he was telling me, is the key.

While he procures some plants by taking cuttings from other plants, many he starts with seed and over-winters in a greenhouse.  He said over and over, “The key to the creativity is the greenhouse,” telling me that with a greenhouse you are not reliant on “whatever you can find at the nursery, which is limited.”

I think it’s the same for writers and other creative people.  There are the ideas that spring forth practically blooming.  They just need a pot.

And then there are all the other little ideas that are barely germinating, just seeds, or tiny seedlings.  They are stored in the hothouse of creativity, the greenhouse of the mind (with, perhaps, some help from notebooks or a filing system).  They’re not ready for prime time, not ready to be planted.  But that doesn’t make them any less important to pay attention to.

They need water, sunlight, attention, a little poking and prodding.  They begin growing far out of the eye of the public, or even the artistic creator.

What ideas are you germinating?  What attention are they getting, embryonic as they are?  The greenhouse is the key to creativity.

Glory Growing


~ by Cary on July 6, 2010.

2 Responses to “The Hothouse for Creativity”

  1. RIGHT! this reminds me of the time you walked me through that long process of nudging and coaxing the idea into the blog—
    Thanks, Cary!

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