A Time to Play

By Sue Trollip

I call my inner muse Flora and when she’s on a roll she replenishes herself nightly like Prometheus’s liver.

Flora is similar to a crop of mealies. When the rain and heat and soil are all at their optimum the mealies (Flora) flourish. When there is too much rain or an unexpected frost or badly fertilised soil the crop of mealies is weak or diseased, and the farmer has to contemplate selling some cows to make it through the lean months ahead. Similarly, when there is too much outside noise Flora loses concentration. When there’s a lack of passion towards the current project it’s difficult to drum up Flora’s enthusiasm and when she’s under or over stimulated nothing but a senseless babble erupts. Unfortunately for the farmer, if there’s a bad crop it affects his entire season, whereas Flora can be refuelled and rejuvenated in a couple of hours.

When Flora is unfruitful no amount of staring at a computer screen or tap-tapping at the keyboard seems to awaken her. That’s when I have to get creative in other ways. Julia Cameron, in her book The Artist’s Way, advocates the artist’s date in order to fill the ‘creative well’ that will assist in refreshing your ‘artistic reservoirs’. She recommends going for a long walk or watching the sunrise over the beach and while I agree with this one hundred percent I do think that another way to jolt your inner muse is to release your inner child. Cameron maintains that kids ‘are not self-conscious, and once we are actually in the flow of our creativity, neither are we.’

Recently I took Flora to uShaka Marine World. Oh my, did she squeal like a toddler. Turns out it was the perfect mix of stimulation, water and sunshine. Flora bloomed. I on the other hand woke up the next morning feeling as if I’d been run over by a combine harvester.

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