This week inspiration comes to us from Gardening With Words by Constant Gardener. Let his story nurture your creative spirit through a passion for tending to Gardens and how that relates to creativity. Yes, meet our feature #21, @, the Creator of #Botaiku, a new type of Haiku and Be inspired to Create!
This is my submission for Creative Mondays. I am honored to be asked to share some thoughts with you and tell you a little about my creative journey.
Creativity is a part of who we are
We’re all looking for our identity in this often confusing world. A lot of what is presented to us through the media is something we can identify ourselves with, but some of us are looking for an outlet for the creativity that is within. Watching TV or browsing facebook is just not enough. Recently I discovered an online community of writers on Twitter. They have been perhaps the biggest inspiration to me personally, in my creative journey.
As a lifelong gardener, I have always enjoyed nurturing new life and while in the nursery industry work fulfilled a lot of my creative urges. In 2009 I moved from England to America to get married. While working at a nursery in Missouri, I started a twitter account, choosing the username @cnstantgardener which was a nod to one of my favorite authors, John Le Carre.
Creativity is a lifestyle
Sometimes it takes a lifestyle change to open up new areas to us. When I emigrated, got married and changed jobs all within a few months, it felt like a transplanting process. Roots were broken but new ones were made and the gardener root was still the strongest. However in 2012 I left the industry and started work in a food processing plant. I soon found I enjoyed the work but the creative possibilities were limited, to say the least. I had more days off, to work in my own garden but found a 12 hour work shift could be soul-destroying. So I upgraded my phone and started browsing the internet on my breaks to pass the time. In the spring of 2014 I stumbled on a couple of poets on twitter and started to follow them, soon I realized that there were daily writing prompts posted, so decided to try a couple of poems.
To my surprise people started reading and appreciating my writing! But primarily, I enjoyed the challenge of writing a poem or short story with only the 140 characters that twitter allows.
I also enjoyed the challenge of looking at a prompt word from different angles. The bite-sized aspect made writing seem less of a daunting task.
In August 2014 I started a writing prompt on twitter myself, initially the Botaiku was conceived as a gardening related haiku but it has been expanded to include any form of micropoetry. Most prompts feature a species of plant and a word which may be related to the plant. I post each prompt at 8pm then read the responses throughout the next day. I enjoy researching each plant, some familiar and some that I have only seen in books.
Creativity is a way to love
Although my writing started as a way to pass the time, I think I have found that there is a purpose in it for me and I try to keep this in mind.
Creativity is about unconditional love; you have to be willing to let it flow, without restraint. Also, when we are in love we see beauty; creativity is about capturing that beauty.
As a married man, I watch the boundaries of what I write, exploring sensuality up to a point. I am careful about limiting my writing time. As a follower of Christ, I try to allow who I am to infuse what I write, attempting to share my heart rather than my beliefs.
My biggest aspiration as a writer is to help creativity flow in all areas of my life. I don’t have a big project in mind right now but I want to explore photography and songwriting some more. I have a tumblr blog cnstantgardener.tumblr.com where I aim to take my writing beyond 140 characters.
My wife and I have a garden and a high tunnel on a 10 acre property. We keep chickens and hope to develop it into a small diversified farm.
Above all, I hope to encourage others to unlock their creative potential.
I have watched as more people write for the increasing number of prompts on twitter. Some of these are moderated by authors who take the time to support writing, when they could be promoting their own work. Many of us in the writing community have made lasting friendships even though most of us have never met. Perhaps through writing we know each other better than we would in real-life!