Thursday, March 8, 2012

Creativity Must Not Be Sacrificed!

     I've been talking with some of you about the things that have been on my mind lately, and how I need to get it on the blog.  Well I finally have carved out enough time to sit down at the computer and start writing. Here we go...
     I've heard a reoccuring chant with new people who don't necessarily know that we are a scrapbooking store when they walk in.  The chant goes something like this, "Oh, it's a scrapbooking store. I used to scrapbook a lot and I loved it. I really miss it." Then I always ask them, "Why don't you scrapbook anymore?" And almost always the answer is, "I just don't have time anymore". It has me concerned because I'm hearing that a lot.  What was once something that people would carve time out for, many no longer are.  And I have to ask myself why.  What is it that is causing people to give up something that they used to love to do?
     My conclusion is this;  There has been a shift in our society.  Many are carrying heavy loads with the demands of work and family which are causing them to have to let go of the idea of sitting down to get creative.  I used to scrapbook two to three Friday nights a month, and could pretty much stay caught up.  However, since I opened up the store I often find it hard to make time for myself to scrapbook.
     Unfortunately, the thing I'm learning is if we don't take the time to access that part of our brain on a regular basis we struggle to get those creative juices flowing again.  I had the notion a while back that each of our staff would make a card and a page layout once a week, and we would offer up what we created to those who wanted to take advantage of just showing up, and putting together a pre-done project.  Interesting thing happened when we started running those card and layout days.  We found that we had quite a few people taking advantage of the "drop-in" format.  People are finding it hard to even carve out a couple hours to take a class these days.  That drop-in format allows them to come in on their time and work at their pace.  What I found even more interesting, is that I had ladies who were coming in to make cards after work, talking about how tired they were. However, when they sat down and made a card, they were excited, alert, and energized!  What's also interesting, is that since we have started having page layout days...In just a few months of doing 1-2 pages a week I have almost completed an album. 
     My point is this...We can't not do the thing we love because we feel like we can't justify a hobby taking that much of our time.  By not making this a priority in our lives, I fear that we are losing much of our creativity and walking around like flat zombies.  We all know these are, for many, difficult times and I think the tendency is to focus all our energy toward trying to fix the problems. So we don't sit down and take a break and put our noses in the thing that is going to renew us and give us excitement and passion.  Think I'm going overboard?  I'm not, and I'll tell you why; In November I went on a scrapbooking weekend with a friend and I had completed a book I was going to teach (with pictures and all).  The pictures were of a trip that we had taken to Galena Illinois with my In-laws for their birthdays back about 12 years ago.  Funny thing about doing that book was, as I looked at those pictures I had remembered the wonderful time we had together.  Those were easier times and in some ways, happier times.  My father-in-law looked healthy (he is now on dialysis) and we were all smiling in these pictures.  I thought it was just me getting sentimental but soon found out it wasn't.  The first words out of my husbands mouth when he saw that book were, "We all were pretty happy back then, we smiled a lot". 
     Life can have some rough seasons in it, but I think that we can get through it a lot easier if we look back at the happier times.  When I do that it brings such a joy to my heart that another person, place or thing can't do for me.  A drug, exercise program, or new way of thinking isn't going to put the joy in my heart like looking at those older photographs does.  People say all the time,  "Boy you sure can drop a bucket full here." And yes, I guess you can.  But I look at it as therapy that fills me up and saves me from having to use medicine or other coping mechanisms to get through the days.
     That brings me to my last thought;  Photographs are important.  People are still taking as many pictures as they did say 5 years ago.  Probably even more, with the advent of Facebook and cameras on every phone.  I heard some advice when I took a class from Ali Edwards a while back, and one of the things she said was, "Print everything!" If you have ones that didn't turn out the way you what!  Give them to your kids.  They will have blast scrapbooking them along side you.  Digital was a great invention, but the sad reality was that the 35mm film forced us to take the film cannister in to get developed.  Giving us a bundle of printed memories.  Now with the age of digital pictures, we instantly look at our photos and then file them away on the computer, never to revisit them, enjoy them, or share them with others.  Without them in hand, we don't feel as much pressure or desire to do anything more with them.  So print EVERYTHING and let the creativity begin! I hope I can inspire you to physically print and create something today!
Kathy Benson