A few Fridays ago, after an emotionally and physically taxing week of classes and moving into my new place, I had resolved to spend the night in for some quality “me time.” After taking from a mid-afternoon nap, I awoke to a text from a friend, “Want to go to Art Walk tonight?” I put on a sweater and my hat, hopped in my car, rolled the windows down, turned on my favorite Simon and Garfunkel album and drove downtown, arm out the window. For those of you not native to Springfield, every first Friday of the month, all of the little shops and art galleries downtown open their doors to the public. Painters, leather-workers, caricature artists and creators of all kinds set up little tables up and down the streets of The Square. An EDM DJ gathers a huge crowd in the middle of The Square. People clutching fruity drinks spill onto the streets outside of The Golden Girl Rum Club, Springfield’s classiest and most colorful little bar. The streets are crowded with life and thus the normally quiet Midwestern city is transformed into a miniature version of New York City. It’s my favorite.
We parked on the top of a parking garage and as I peeked over the edge I saw the familiar Springfield brick buildings illuminated in roses and fire by the spectacular sunset. Later that evening, after exploring several art galleries, we stumbled upon a concert on the lawn of our favorite gallery. The band was a fusion of soul music and rap, and as it grew dark, everyone listening grew freer. There was even a middle-aged couple in the midst of all the young people. Although wearing professional looking blazers and dress pants, they were moving to the quick beats streaming from the rapper’s mouth. The night air carried whispers of autumn in the waves of cool, and my friend and I sat on the brick wall, our legs dangling and grooving to the music. It was one of those rare moments where I felt fully and absolutely present in the moment. After getting back to my apartment late that night, I rushed for my journal and wrote this personal epiphany:
“Whenever I am feeling uninspired and low like I have been this week, I must always remember to eat, sleep but do things. How can I find inspiration when I only go to class, work, eat, and sleep. There is so much more to life. To experience and to create. And experience is such a crucial part of inspiration and I must remember that.”
That next morning, I found myself sitting in my 8am class feeling sleepy and no motivation to be there. But then suddenly ideas for essays, and blog posts, and creative collaborations with friends began to invade my brain. I went home after class and spent my entire lunch hour writing and writing and writing. This discovery has had a profound impact on my creative life as I remind myself “to create, I must remember to experience.” Now, any time that I find myself bereft of fresh ideas or harboring an indifference towards the beast that is Creativity, I call up a friend or ask my roommate or text my sister, “Hey, let’s go do something. Sit on top of a parking garage. Go to an open mic night. Attend a poetry reading. Wake up early and go to the farmer’s market.” Because I must always remember to experience.