A Creativity Book that Starts Unexpectedly
It all starts with a book in a bathroom.
A younger version of me starts writing thoughts about the day-that-was, in a journal that lands in my bathroom. A visiting friend decides to risk being found out for snooping. He writes me a letter in the back of it. Another friend also opens the pages and adds her thoughts somewhere in the middle. Along the line, Mom and Dad realise this is a window into teenaged mayhem and ink their love, too. My boyfriend’s mom decides to do the same.
And so, the book comes to live in the magazine basket just outside the shower. Water-splattered and slightly misshapen from condensation, the pages quickly fill with wisdom I don’t want to lose.
I am falling in love with the conversation happening on pages that never go beyond the door. I start a shorthand version in another book. I call it shorthand because instead of labouring over details, I simply pen the lessons I am learning—most of them painful, and I’m fully bent on not experiencing them again.
I number these shorthand lessons and the book grows, in parallel to the more conversational one in the bathroom. The only difference is the shorthand lessons are my very own.
I leave school, finish two degrees, hitch myself to a boy, catch a jet plane with a one-way ticket, find a house on a hill, start a business and another business, buy a bike, fall off the bike, and all along the way I pen the lessons. Each time, I ink the page and read through previous entries, remembering the moments. When difficult situations crop up, I go back, look at lesson #63, #89, #103 … #7, #18, #33 and connect some dots that weren’t obvious before.
I had written lesson #733 when Laura called and asked if there was a book in there. I said I thought there was.
So here I am back at the bathroom book, with the story-behind-the-story.
I haven’t discovered a creativity formula that I am hypothesising about. This is a collection of practical moments: snapshots of a girl living curiously, but still not curiously enough.
I hope you will find yourself somewhere in the story and leave your own note. I’ll look for it in the bathroom basket.
Photo and book excerpt, Claire Burge.