I don’t even know what the hey-diddle-diddle “Nth” means, but I bought Spin: Taking Your Creativity to the Nth Degree because I admire the author, Claire Burge. Truth be told, I wanted to see what sort of beauty she’d created for other people. You know—the artsy people who wander about museum halls in mystical awe, dab lips with folded linen whilst they sip wine in fancy restaurants, wave sheer scarves above the city hustle to hail taxicabs, travel the world, and sometimes even scuttle atop snowy crusts and yell “mush!” to their for-hire dogsled teams. People quite unlike me.
I’m a simple country girl who straps duct-tape across gashes in her insulated chore boots for three consecutive winters, wears her husband’s ratty 501 Levi jeans from high school and her brother in-law’s winter coat from junior high, cracks mornings well before dawn as she kindles a fire in a wood cookstove, hauls water by the bucketful, hangs laundry out year-round, and re-uses coffee grounds.
Despite the odds, I joined the book club discussion of Spin: Taking Your Creativity to the Nth Degree—I thought it would be fun to add some country insight to the comment box, while I’d shake my head ever so slightly in the secrecy of my house at “the creativity people.”
Much to my delight (okay, there was a little dismay too), something in the first chapter flickered in my deep-downs, and by the last three words “So can you, ” I was all in.
I often think of this when I journal and pen life lessons. I wonder what my children and grandchildren and possibly even their children will take away from these lessons that I’m learning right now. Will it help them connect their own selves, as fragments of their family history and lineage emerge before their eyes? Will it make them a little wiser? Spare them heartache or provide a way through? I’ll never know. But I can write it in the meantime. So can you. (Burge, Spin, p. 153)
What the heck? Ding-dong Darlene! This book is not about other people. It’s about you. Yes, you—flannel-clad country girl.
Through this story-laden, practical guidebook, Claire teaches. And I learn. Through the sparseness of the images (his self-described “eclectic scribbles”), illustrator Brian Dixon gave me room enough to see me. Together, they showed me that creativity is part of life. Everyone’s life.
I’ve decided not to look-up “Nth, ” but instead to create my own definition, fed from my country girl interpretation of “Spin: Taking Your Creativity to the Nth Degree.”
Nth (as a noun) is not something to be measured, counted, quantified, or qualified; but, something to be recognized, appreciated, lived, and sometimes even shared. Nth (as a verb) is the process of recognizing that all the jagged, gleaming bits of your past, present, and future simultaneously fuel one’s creativity.
Yes sir, yes ma’am. I came to this book and this discussion group because I wanted to see what sort of beauty had been created for other people—instead I discovered my own creative worthiness between the covers and in the comment boxes.
Please join me on Pinterest where I’ve started a board called SPIN: Taking Your Creativity to the Nth Degree. I’m “coloring” the book’s thirty-nine chapters through images: pictures I’ve snapped and graphics I’ve created. Together we can spin through the chapters via our shared images. I hope we find not only inspiration, but our individual Nth degree.
Post and photo by Simply Darlene. Photo used with permission.
Buy Spin: Taking Your Creativity to the Nth Degree now and join us for our book club discussion