Toot toot! Do it yourself

February 24, 2010

Not to toot my own horn, but this week I posted what I think is a particularly good quote at The Hebdomadal Chesterton.  It is vintage Chesterton: witty,  windy, and wise.  His point, once you get to it, is that constantly absorbing mass entertainment suffocates the imagination, and that it is much more stimulating to be actively creative and make one’s own entertainment.   One who did this would enlarge himself:

His interests might be more local, but they would be more lively; his experience of men more personal but more mixed; his likes and dislikes more capricious but not quite so easily satisfied.

Now, I am as likely as anyone — and perhaps more likely than most — to listen to music rather than make it, to watch a film rather than stage a play, and to read a book rather than write one.  But I agree with Chesterton all the same.  Some people know that for the past few months I have been on paternity leave, and during my “spare time” (which does not really exist) I have been working on a creative project.  It has been very challenging, and is not turning out very well at all, but I have enjoyed myself very much.  There is something stimulating about sitting down with a blank sheet of paper and having the freedom to make whatever one wants.  The feeling is like that of looking at a deep blue sky.  Chesterton is right.

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4 Responses to “Toot toot! Do it yourself”

  1. Nick Milne Says:

    You (and GKC) are quite right. It’s much better to be creating things that might not be all that great than to be forever passively experiencing media that is seldom – if ever – even good, let alone great.

    I write sonnets, and blank verse monologues, and ballades, and short stories, and so on and so on. Almost none of them are what I would call any good. But it’s still good to get the bad ones out of my system.

    Would we (here I speak for your readership) be presumptuous in asking about your creative project?

  2. cburrell Says:

    I’ve seen some of your sonnets, and they looked pretty good to me. I could never, not in a million years, write a proper sonnet. Free verse, which I hold in self-defeating disdain, was made for “poets” like me.

    I probably should not have brought up my little project. The truth is that the details are Top Secret, mostly so that I won’t have to be asked about my progress in social situations. (The answer, so far at least, is always “poor progress”.) It’s a writing project.

  3. Christina A. Says:

    Too late now, Craig. I am going to probably want to know more about the project in our next social situation.
    To be fair, you can ask me about mine next time. It consists of a large, dirty, empty room in the basement that requires a renovation and furniture by a woman who is not handy and also has a small baby. I am, by the way, hoping to have this finished for mid-April. I haven’t gotten past making my poor husband patch some small holes.

  4. cburrell Says:

    My lips are sealed.


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