Sunday, March 8, 2015

Covert Creatives

A few years ago, after my marriage broke up, I wrote a short piece called: "In Which the Toilet in My Daughter's Dollhouse Exults in its Superiority to Me." 

It was narrated by a tiny white toilet with a duck on it -- an object I had been contemplating for some time, and which inspired and compelled me, like Keat's urn. 

In a handful of paragraphs, the toilet mocked our apartment (in comparison to the three-story dollhouse), deplored the fact that my children lacked an intact nuclear family (like the Rabbits), rebuked my lax parenting, harrumphed at our low sense of humor, and concluded that all of our problems were my fault.

By the end of this exercise, I had achieved something like a state of bliss.  What could be better than sitting on my couch alone, for hours, while my small children did who-knows-what across town, stringing together phrases that had never before existed in the world, such as:

" . . .  where six Cheerios, a purple gumdrop and the remains of an unlucky tick hang suspended in a cobweb matrix while a spider and cockroach battle nearby for the spoils."

Come on (McSweeney's, who rejected it)!  That's pretty good.  (Or is it?  I don't know.)

Eventually, of course, the magic of this feeling ebbed away.  Then it was back to laundry, Target runs, and, you know, real life. 

Covert Creatives -- unlike out-and-proud Creatives, who flock to places like Los Angeles and New York City -- accept and even embrace normal life.  We are as pleased as anyone to complete a work project or make a good slow-cooker chicken.  Except for maybe once in a while, we don't regret getting regular jobs and, later, SUVs littered with crackers, school flyers, and shoes.

Still, it's important to keep creating.  If only -- simply? -- to generate joy.

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