“When we are lost in darkness and see a distant glimmer of light, who does not dream of a thatched cottage or, to go more deeply still into legend, of a hermit’s hut?” – Gaston Bachelard, The Poetics of Space
Welcome to the Hut. Pardon the rough edges. I’m committed to building it post by post. Three times a week minimum, I will offer substantial content related to whatever questions need itching and thatching. More than likely questions will hover around what distinguishes creative innovators, what makes creatives productive and flowing optimally, how do creatives shape time and space and life in general so that they craft authentically and engage great work that matters.
Wonder. Surprise. Delight. Uncertainty. The body & creative productivity. These things, too, drop questions like breadcrumbs in my path.
Why questions? A question mark begins in one place, suspended way above the ground of periods, then lifts in an arched eyebrow and promises to return back to where it began but then pauses and drops free fall straight down to earth, takes a final leap of skeptical faith and lands in a dot. The question mark is a parachute or umbrella for free-falling creatives. It is the mark of uncertainty
and utter confidence at the same time.
Leaders like artists love uncertainty. They want challenges that put them on the precipice of their abilities, that push them to discovery and novelty. Those qualities – challenges, risk, discovery, novelty – make up the mix of what psychologist Mihalyi Csikszentmihalyi calls “flow,” that optimal state that artists, athletes, and leaders thrive on.
How can we thrive in uncertainty? When our ground of reality and identity quakes beneath our feet, how can we live in that fertile confusion? How can we become more creative and less reactive? I wonder.
To live in a hut of questions more than an ivory tower of answers in the pursuit of creative innovation, collaboration, meaning, and action – that’s what this blog will offer (I think).
To live in questions is to face death, the ultimate not-knowing, the pinnacle of our wonder. It is to ward off against scrambling to sure-fire choices, to conventional wisdom, to secure paychecks, and to safe bets.
We won’t stay in the hut forever. We’ll just visit. There’s too much great work that matters to be executed, completed, published, shared. Villages need re-designing. Cities, re-imagined. Lives, re-shaped. Weeks, better lived.
Like the perspiration tribe I admire, I am biased toward action – but inspired action. All inspiration, no work done. All perspiration, no joy or meaning or deep connection. Inspiration, perspiration, aspiration – they’re all different forms of the same basic stuff, spiritus from which the words come. How can we learn how to harness those different winds for different purposes and occasions? How can the body’s intentional movement be part and parcel of deliberate creative action? I wonder.
If we do our job, this blog will be a space where we can parlay questions about these matters, share ideas and resources and victories and defeats, collaborate, and get refreshed before heading back out into the world.
I’ll close with a nod to Pablo. Neruda, not Picasso. Pablo Neruda lived a life of uncertainty. When the Chilean poet and politician stood up for and voiced the cries of repressed striking miners in 1947, he had to flee underground and eventually exile in Europe until his return five years later. He witnessed two world wars, took sides with Stalin, renounced his Stalin support, and continued to champion working people.
One of Neruda’s last books was A Book of Questions. 74 poems, all questions.
Why do leaves commit suicide / when they feel yellow?
Where did the full moon leave / its sack of flour tonight?
How long will the rhinocerous last once it’s loved to compassion?
Whom can I ask what I came/to make happen in this world?
That poet’s state of mind, that shape of imagination keeps us – artists, entrepreneurs, leaders – open to possibilities.
What questions of creative work are you living in? Tell me your questions, and I’ll tell you mine.
See you in the woods,