Obsession or Therapy?

15 - 1I’m in trouble.

I thought that by the time I got to mid-middle age I’d give up collecting “things.” You know — weird oddities that tickled your fancy back in the day, but now you’ve got so many you need a room with wall-to-wall shelving to keep them all in.

My thing was unicorns. IS unicorns. But my desire to pick up every stray statue/stuffed animal/poster has dwindled through the years. I’m content with my headboard full of uni’s and pegasus’s and the occasional dragon. Plus the corner curio. Plus the dresser. Plus the bookshelves. Plus … you get it.

Now I’m hooked on something which, on the surface, seems a lot less harmful. After all, it they don’t take up shelf space.

I’m hooked on gifs.

For those who know the word but forget the meaning, a gif is a computer image that moves. I’m sure there’s a simpler explanation, but you get the gist. Waterfalls have running water; skies have sparkling stars; women have flowing hair. I don’t know how they are made, but I think they are so cool.

I’ve started a collection on my laptop; they have their own folder and their own corner of the desktop. Now it’s not so bad — maybe 20-3o or so. What am I going to do when my collection dips into the hundreds? I tell myself they are for blogs and writing columns and … well, for enhancement of whatever I create in this three dimensional world. There is always a logical explanation for everything. All you need to do is find it.

But really they are just cool to watch. It’s like magic. I don’t want to know how its done, nor do I want to start creating them myself. I already have 1,000 things on my to-do list; creating moving pictures is not one of them.

I supposed in the short run it’s safer than collecting salt and pepper shakers or antique cars. I don’t have to dust them. But I’ve temporarily cut myself off from one of my Google+ communities, for it’s nothing BUT gifs. And I admit. I am weak. I can see me having a folder of 500 by year’s end, taking up good computer space. I can see me wasting time watching water fall instead of writing or reading. And that is not so cool.

My writing to-do list is nearly as obnoxious as my household to-do list. I really don’t have time to be downloading and watching every moving pic that tickles my fancy. But for now it seems I’m addicted. Hopefully, it will go by the wayside like roller discos and mullets. But until then — be prepared.

Do you collect things that you really don’t need to collect any more?

Are You Plugged In?

plugOne sign of getting older is that I seem to notice things I’ve never noticed before. I don’t know if it’s just swishing around past my prime, or rather just starting out in my prime, but I smell things no one else smells, hear things no one else hears, and notice actors and actresses being recycled through the years from one movie to another.

I love escapism. I don’t get to watch TV or movies as often as I’d like, as work and writing and yelling at the dogs takes up a lot of my time. But I find I wonder “how do they do that?” more often than not. And I’ll be the first to tell you that I am amazed at special effects. My simple brain cannot wrap around the fact that city landscapes and alien spaceships and Roman cities are nothing more than 1’s and 0’s running through a computer. I can’t even begin to understand how they made the German’s face melt in Indiana Jones and Raiders of the Lost Ark; Transformers destroying the city (and each other); Inception, where people run on ceilings and curl cityscapes back on themselves. King Kong. Toy Story. Avatar. The list goes on.

Special effects, computer generated imagery. Galaxies and Mordor and everything inbetween. And none of it is real. Yet one can’t help but get sucked into those worlds as if we really stepped through the magic portal. Our minds quit trying to figure out what’s real and what’s fake and just get lost in someone else’s creativity.

Even more mind-blowing is that the same part of the anatomy that everyone has — even me — is where it all comes from. One’s mind. Which resides in one’s brain. Which we all have (but not all use…ah…a blog for another day).

So it is with any step into creativity. We have all gotten lost in a good book, holding our breath as we turn the pages. We have all looked at a painting or a sculpture and marveled at its simplicity or complexity. Some are able to take the next step in their creative career — go to school, get published, get a job at Industrial Light and Magic. Some turn their love of acting into dinner theater or Broadway, or their skill at playing a guitar or piano into symphony orchestras or rock bands.

So why is it, if we all have the same equipment, we don’t understand the same thing? Why is it so hard for some of us and a piece of cake to others? I can barely do basic Math, yet accountants and computer designers see numbers as easily as seeing the sun. Mankind creates the most amazing, breathtaking, impossible things — all with that one little tool in their skull.

The “whys” of why some people develop the gift and others don’t I will leave to philosophy and a glass of wine. The point is, we ALL have the ability to use that hunk of grey matter to open those magic portals. Some can’t wait for their free time to jump into their next creative project; others see creativity as a waste of time.

Maybe it’s just that the same plug that plugs into the outlet of special effects is on a wall of infinite outlets that lead to infinite destinations. Maybe it’s just the luck of the draw that one plug leads to quantum physics and one to insanity. One to painting and one to crayons. We are all plugged in to different outlets. We can’t change where we are plugged in, but we CAN choose to follow the path of electricity to outlet boxes scattered all over the universe.

Working with the material inside the brain box is a lot of work. Some just catch on faster than others. But when you find that junction box where creativity makes you feel good, you want to stay plugged in. Some may be taken back by the jolt that comes now and then from creative satisfaction, while others find it a natural high they want to come back to again and again.

I don’t know where all this deep philosophy came from this fine morning, but I do know one thing — don’t give up. Make time. Let yourself be. Let it flow. And know you can come back to this feeling any time.

Whew … and to think … I had this cosmic burst before I had my morning coffee!