Memories & Creativity- Happy New Year

Happy New Year to all. Steve asked me last night as 2009 ended, what was my most memorable New Years Eve. Granted, I’ve spent more than several of them listening to his band at a party, but sorry honey, they were not my most memorable. Listening to music is always great and his band is awesome, but those New Year’s Eve gigs all blend together since the volume excludes much interactive conversations. And yes, folks, I was sober, so you can’t blame my faded memories on the influence of booze or other mind altering elements like, oh say, sleep deprivation. I take plenty of naps.

But he asked about my most memorable, not my best (which of course are those spent with him). My most vivid New Year’s Eve memory is strikingly simple. I was at my sister Kim’s house the  year she and her husband Andy moved to the Florida Keys. He was working the night shift at the airport in Miami, so it was just Kim and me. We didn’t plan anything other than maybe to stay up for the traditional ball drop countdown in Times Square on TV.

I’d nodded off on the coach on the enclosed porch, which is where I was going to sleep anyway. Just before midnight it starting pouring rain. I mean teeming. The sky had opened and rain was pounding on the corrugated vinyl-plastic roof like a train running through the night desert full speed or maybe more like a stampede of cattle. I’ve actually heard both, so I know what I’m talking. It was LOUD, deafening loud. Anyway, it was a startling way to wake up, but I just lay there listening in fascination to the pounding. It was minutes before midnight, Kim was awake and appeared with a cups of tea to welcome the new year. We sat under a roof of loud rain that seemed so determined to wash the world clean. Well, at least our part of the world. That is my memory and I don’t even expect that she wouldn’t remember it.

Okay, what has this to do with creativity? I guess I’m exploring how we experience things through our senses and how that may affect our memories. Our memories are great places to explore for creative inspiration. Why did the loud rain evoke a more vivid memory than the loud music of Steve’s band? I don’t know, but perhaps it was about being a unique and unexpected experience.

How can this help you be creative? Pay attention to what causes you to pause. What are the sensational components of your memories? (Visual, sounds, movement, touch, aroma or flavor)  What caught your attention? How did it make you feel? How can you use it expressively in your creative medium?

So what was your most memorable New Year’s Eve, birthday or holiday. Write about it, paint it, compose a melody…and pay attention everyday to what might make a memory.


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