Thursday, September 06, 2007

the creativity burst

Thank you, thank you, for your kind thoughts about my sweaty self and the tank top. The second ribby shell progresses apace, but I've been reminded again that bamboo yarn is very inelastic, so I break up the knitting time with special finger stretches to relieve soreness! (it better be great to wear!)
Some people are inspired to great works of creative genius by nature, literature or art. I think all those things are inspirational, don't get me wrong. Sadly, what seems to spur me on to my most creative moments is boredom. Yes, boredom. I have to be just on the edge of completely losing it. Whenever my grandmother (now 91 and still sharp about these issues!) would find me at this point, complaining of being bored, she'd suggest that I go bang my head against the wall and yell "Bravo! Bravo!" Needless to say, from early on, I found out that my family didn't have patience for the word bored. I learned to keep myself busy and not to say THAT WORD.

When I've gone through busy periods, stress or lots of non-stimulating work, I lose all energy for creative stuff. It just doesn't flow. I also find that even when I have plenty of time to think up articles or designs or fiction, sometimes the muse just doesn't come by. Instead, I do laundry, take walks,spin yarn for sale, garden (when there's no drought) or write to deadlines without (gasp!) the muse. 'Cause, when you're paid to write for a deadline, you write anyway.

Lately I've been cranking out "how-to" project sections for my book. These photos are hints! (guess away in the coments!) Due to the professor's early morning wake up schedule, I've been writing my drafts by 10 AM. Then, I have the rest of the day to fill, but I'm loopy or useless from 2-3 hours of solid writing and the 5:30 AM wake-up.

Since the knitting needles are busy with someone else's pattern, I cooked. On Tuesday night, I made ricotta basil gnocchi with a fresh vegetable sauce. Let me describe that: I adapted a Cooks Illustrated Magazine recipe for ricotta gnocchi. I'd refer to the recipe, but I changed it. For instance, when they said: 2 slices of white sandwich bread made into toasted bread crumbs(which doesn't exist in my "from scratch" whole wheat household just now) I substituted matzo meal, leftover from Passover. It worked well! I used the food processor and didn't do the blending by hand. It worked well...(maybe I've got the Italian Jewish thing going on? I'd be honored to walk in the footprints of Primo Levi..)

Then, I sauteed onions and garlic in a lot of olive oil, threw in chopped red peppers, tomatoes, basil, a tablespoon of capers and a bunch of marinated artichoke hearts into a fresh sauce. No recipe for that. I used my common sense and shut off the burner after I cooked the onions and garlic. I combined the gnocchi and sauce, served it with salad, this fabulous NY state wine, and a leftover peach nut shortbread tart that I'd made up a couple of days before. We invited our favorite Norwegian Bachelor Biologist (not farmer) friend over. We swooned. It was that good.

Creativity oozes out when you least expect it!

PS: As a complete downer, check out this scary news happening in my neck of the woods. Owensboro is only an hour away from where I live. (I'm avoiding any words that might draw attention to these bad and intolerant folks in my blog.) Read the article, it's short...Having these people "watching over my neighborhood as I sleep" scares the poop --and the creativity--right out of me.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Drool alert! Wow dinner sounded wonderful! Although I had to google gnocchi.

What would your neighborhood possibly need "watching over" from? Creeps!

September 6, 2007 at 3:58 PM  
Blogger Nancy said...

Neighborhood groups like that just haven't been quite so obvious...but they're always around. Scary, too, that we had two under radar planes last week after dark...I lived in the West 35 years where that happened as part of experimental craft, but that's not what's going on in PA. And then the Russian bombers near Norway and nukes 'accidentally' flying over the US on our own planes. Stuff's happening that 'they' aren't tellin'.... (si what else is new?

September 6, 2007 at 4:26 PM  
Blogger Joanne said...

Nancy, I'm not quite sure what you're referring to...perhaps government monitoring or the mistake the nuclear missiles? I'm referring to a hate group-the Klan-(most of us know the full name) that is apparently circulating literature in Owensboro, KY. Maybe you could give a bit more information about what's going on in Pennsylvania?

September 6, 2007 at 4:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mmmmm....dinner sounded yummy! I need to come over to your house for some cooking lessons.

My next door neighbor is a reporter for Fox News here in our city (we live 45 minutes northwest of Owensboro) and he did a story about the "Klan" lurking in Owensboro. I'm just waiting for him to arrive home tonight so I can get more details.

Pretty creepy and scary.

September 6, 2007 at 5:31 PM  
Blogger Donna D said...

Yikes, that is scary. Someone needs to tell the idiot bullies to mind their own frakking business

September 6, 2007 at 5:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is that a drop spindle made with an apple and a knitting needle?

Dinner sounded wonderful!

September 6, 2007 at 8:09 PM  
Blogger Peggy said...

Yummy, yummy food!!!! Hmmmmm, I've never seen a drop spindle made with an apple but now that you did it it makes perfect sense. Good thing to know, ya never know when you might need it.

September 7, 2007 at 7:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't know squat about spinning, but I was guessing a spindle, too, and feel so clever after reading the comments!

I wanted to comment, though, on the creativity/boredom thing. I go through periods like that, too, and I think subliminal creativity is going on, percolating in the subconscious. Sometimes if feels like I really don't want to write anything, but I think maybe the boredom and avoidance may just mean I'm not ready. That's my excuse, anyway, and I'm sticking with it!

Meanwhile, brava on your dinner (much better than head-banging), and woe to the hate mongers. You have to figure they're very unhappy human beings, but it isn't much consolation.

September 7, 2007 at 8:28 PM  
Blogger Romi said...

The KKK?!?!??! Aaaack!

September 8, 2007 at 12:22 AM  

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