Searching for the Island

It’s a little disturbing to watch Rudolph and see how mean Santa and the reindeer coach are — all that bit about not letting Rudolph join in any reindeer games and what a shame it is that his nose is ruining an otherwise high-potential flying career.

Then there’s the whole “Island of Misfit Toys” — that Santa would simply toss aside obviously thinking, feeling toys because of imperfections flies in the face of the benevolent, chuckling, jelly-man we all know and love. And it’s particularly glaring in today’s inclusive, ADA-aware world.

While I’m certainly glad Santa sees the error of his ways by the end of the show, I do think there’s still an island out there waiting for rescue — only it’s not populated by misfit toys but by misfit ideas.

I know every “creative” who’s ever peddled an idea has come away disappointed when some higher-up hasn’t shared the vision. It still hurts to think of the really clever Christmas (errr “holiday”) card my designer partner and I created last year. Perfect image, perfect message. We loved it, the client’s marketing team loved it, but the man signing the checks, not so much. So off it went to the Island, replaced by a generic greeting. Just like that.

And there was that ad from so long ago. Again, designer and writer in perfect harmony. The boss? Out in left field, his usual hangout. So what the client eventually saw (and approved) was not the cool concept we proposed, but one decidely less cool that the boss liked better (his idea, of course).

You learn to toss aside those disappointments and go on. But just imagine the thousands — millions — of really clever, really inventive ideas voted off the table and onto the Island. I can see them out there — waiting desperately to be discovered. To find their place in an ad, brochure, commercial, Web site. To finally be recognized for the bright spots of inspiration they are. That paradise is lost out there — if only I could find it. I’d make sure every one of those sweet little moments found a good home with a creative soul to love and nurture it.

Santa? Rudolph? Yukon Cornelius? Anyone up for a new search-and-rescue?

An idea whose time has come was waiting there all along. 
                                                    ~ Carrie Latet

Morning, Muse

Aahhh sleep. Escape hatch from the world. Bestower of fresh perspectives. Solver of riddles too elusive, too complex for open eyes and active brains.

My sleep reveals nothing so dramatic as Einstein’s (theory of relativity) or Watson’s (double-helix DNA structure) or my brother’s (legendary in the family for his vivid nocturnal adventures). I only get the odd encounter with David Duchovny to solve an X-File or countless puzzling wranglings with malfunctioning elevators and unclimbable stairs.

But that first, early morning awakening is a revelation. That drowsy slumber, though often rudely evoked by pestilence in feline form that is only briefly daunted by curses and swats, is where my muse likes to visit, whispering ideas, reminding me of what the day ahead might bring, helping me put life in perspective. Most of my post inspirations come from the morning muse, so I try to entice her to stay as long as possible. That requires walking a fine line between not getting too engaged by the mundane — that article I need to write or that call I need to prep for or those walls that still need painting — and staying cognizant enough to hear what she’s telling me. Often I forget what she whispers. Trying to scribble it down only means losing her for that day, which I am loathe to do.

Fortunately, she’s patient, sometimes murmuring the same message over and over each day until I finally absorb it. But she’s also fussy. She hides from alarm clocks, yet disdains late, sleep-sated risers. It must be early morning. It must be naturally (or cat-devil-) induced half-slumber. It must be dark or with only the faintest hint of dawn. Cold air is better than warm. Silence is golden.

I love her so much, I’m willing to accept her terms, grateful for whatever advice she has to give, whatever creative energy she’s willing to spark, whatever realization she bestows of how truly blessed I am.

What are your muse’s terms? Does she come when you’re running, driving, lost in knitting or raking or chores? Is she so demanding? Do you have ways to encourage her to come more often? I’m always calling my muse, but she doesn’t tend to answer when I ask, only when I’m least able to resist and most open to accept what she has to say.

Hmmmm, that last bit sounds familiar. Kind of like another spirit force I can think of whose name I often call but who prefers to answer in His own sweet time. Are they one and the same?

This post sure took an unexpected turn…I better sleep on this one.

And if tonight my soul may find her peace
in sleep, and sink in good oblivion,
and in the morning wake like a new-opened flower
then I have been dipped again in God, and new-created.
                                                          ~ D. H. Lawrence

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