Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Seeing Things

Writing is my main creative outlet. One reason I enjoy it is that it helps me see things in a different way. I notice the man who carries a packet of peanut butter crackers, a checkbook and a plastic fork in his shirt pocket. He's prepared for anything. My attention is drawn to the clothespins bobbing and pulling on the line as the shirts try to escape into the wind. I'm awakened at night by the puddle of moonlight spilling in through the window, like so much liquid mercury.

Lately, I've been dabbling with photography. I have a lot to learn, but trying to capture an image in the view finder has also taught me to see. What do I want to focus on? How does the background influence the subject? How can I make it more interesting? What about a photo makes me want to linger there a moment?

I don't draw well at all, but a few years ago I picked up the book Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain. That book is full of fascinating research about how we see things and how we are creative. There are also exercises to teach you how to draw what you see. First, you have to learn to see. Lines, angles, shapes and their relationship to each other.

Both drawing and photography have helped me see things better for writing. Dabbling in these pasttimes illuminates the details in life and that spills into my writing. What creative pursuits have you tried and how has it affected your main creative outlet?


Juliet Colors said...

I've discovered cooking to be a very creative outlet in the past few years. I also enjoy photography for similar reasons (putting together elements of color and texture). Recently, I started taking ballroom dancing lessons, which is a whole new realm of expression.

But writing, or blogging more specifically, has given me new eyes to see the world more than anything else. Writing regularly affects how I approach everything else, rather than vice versa.

Anonymous said...

I completely agree with you.

I love blogging because it makes me pay more attention and I just see more things.

Kathy B! said...

Well, the blogging outlet is the most glaring example. You're right that it makes you more aware and sharpens your observation of what's around you.

Cooking would be my other choice but I don't really know that it's had any impact on other creative outlets.

What a fun, thought provoking topic.

Anonymous said...

I love writing too. And I wish I was better at photography.

I think what keeps me creative is doing things in nature like taking hikes and walks and spending time with my dogs. Whenever I'm out in the nature like that I get these great ideas. Or when I'm driving, or, oh yeah, when I randomly wake up at 3 am and start writing like a maniac! ;)

Mandy said...

Writing this blog is my creative outlet. I love trying to come up with catchy ways of recording my family's life. :)

Melissa B. said...

My family is a bunch of "photo snobs." By that I mean that one child needs this kind of camera, the other needs to one-up that purchase with an even BETTER camera, and the Hubz is all about what a camera "looks" like. Consequently, we have several discarded digital cams lying around in dusty drawers, abandoned there because of lack of megapixels, or whatnot. Yesterday in the middle of a snow storm I needed a camera. Grabbed one of those considered "deficient" by other family members, loaded new batteries, and voila! I've got me a new camera, which takes decent snaps, I'd say. Tune in on Friday for a really great one!

Jenners said...

My husband is drawn to photography and I am drawn to writing so we balance each other out well....but it is fun to grab the camera from him and try to capture something interesting that grabs my eye! I'm afraid that time seems to limit what creative outlets I have so blogging/writing is it for me! And how rewarding it has been ... I didn't know how much I needed this creative outlet until I started.

Anonymous said...

You inspired a post, thanks! http://www.elftea.com/2009/03/simple-pleasures.html