Originally written for Make and Meaning by on DECEMBER 17, 2009
I’m the sort of person who carries a notebook. It’s a moleskine, as is the fashion. It’s full of messy writing and cryptic clues. Often so cryptic, even I can’t read them. ‘Hmmm…’ I say to myself. ‘That’s a tricky clue. What does it mean, Pip?’ Often I don’t know. But I’m still all about clues.
My clues are little signposts. They might lead to other clues. Or they might be clue enough to stand on their own. It depends on the day and the mood and what I’m up to creatively. Regardless of the variable value, the fact remains. I’m looking for clues. A colour, light shed, a snatch of conversation, a word, a shape, a song, a pattern, a font, a can of beans, a book, a car, a tree. The clue could be anything. The clue could be anywhere. It might be really obvious, or only seen by clue seeking people like me. The clues help to hatch lots of good stuff. I’m looking for the sort of clues that give inspiration. They lead to all sorts of good making and writing and baking and photo taking. Maybe you’re cluey too?
For me, life is like a giant scavenger hunt. There could be delight at every turn. There could be dirty socks. No matter. It’s all about persisting and training myself to see things differently. Seeing the beauty and the promise and the potential in all sorts of places.
I’m scanning hopefully for little secrets. You might find me looking for lost shopping lists or discarded notes. I’m the one at parties looking for the door in the back of the wardrobe. That’s me trying to find the book that you yank from the library shelf to make the whole room swing into something exciting and new. In my world the unassuming types are really gangsters. That little sparrow might just talk if I can get it to sit on my finger like Snow White. It might even tweet me a poem. The lady in the Post Office is, of course, about to remove her latex mask any second to reveal she’s actually some sort of droid. Needless to say, the car parked outside my house is definitely stolen. The arc of the rainbow is most certainly pointing to an important destination I must discover. And the pattern of the rainbow colours is a secret code I need to crack. Maybe that city skyline could be an embroidery design? Maybe those colours would be good in a granny square? It’s a bit girl detective, a bit Amelie and a bit Pippi Longstocking. It’s a lot about being resourceful, positive, imaginative and humorous, and sparking fresh new ideas. It’s about trying to soak things up more creatively, I guess.
Are clues part of your creative process? Or perhaps I am the only person like this? How do your ideas roll? Are you looking for clues too?!