A few years ago, while dabbling in reality, my mind ricocheted between darkness and whimsy at lightning speed. In a post entitled, Hiding Behind Rainbows with a Machete in Hand, the dichotomy was glaringly evident. Bouncing between delight and desperation in that post was deliberate, but it may have been symptomatic of a touch of creative madness, too. Creativity, though, can hide behind incompetence. I know this from personal experience. Lackluster creativity is simply a failed effort at expressing one’s ingenuity in the absence of…one’s ingenuity. When one’s mind is in a state of maladroit dullness, even the most intense effort at creativity is destined to struggle and, ultimately, fall flat. Attempts at cleverness become sad expressions of ineptitude. In such situations, even self-deprecating humor trips over itself, leaving one’s knees and ego bruised and bloody. Depending on the force of the knees’ collision with rock-bottom, one’s kneecaps and sense of self-worth can shatter into a dozen irreparable pieces. An example of near-slapstick “wit” from the “Hiding…Rainbows” post, pretending to be humor, tells the tale:

“…some of the characters in my head tend to be so dark that I have to leave them alone and lock them away for a time while I visit with unicorns, leprechauns, and English-speaking bulldogs.”

I blame sleeping late, among other things, for the dive into the uninspired and unimaginative. The ugly cesspool of improperly processed ideas backs up into one’s brain and then seeps down into the hands—the evidence of which is found in tepid thoughts delivered through crippled fingers.

Pure, pre-dawn darkness, the kind one experiences after arising before 5:30 in the morning, frequently washes away the dullness of creativity that has been imprisoned inside one’s head. Somehow, solitude and the absence of sunlight combine, becoming cleansing and restorative. But sleeping late robs one of that restoration, replacing it with creative channels clogged with hideously common dullness. Even if I have to go to bed at 8 o’clock, I will, by God, retrieve at least a smidgen of my oft-restored (but subsequently ruined) creativity. Maybe.


Yesterday was a full day. We attended a symposium about the Elaine, Arkansas massacre (and land-theft) of 1919. The murderous event left hundreds of Black men, women, and children dead. As part of the symposium, a documentary about the event, entitled We Have Just Begun, was shown. The entire program was interesting and thought-provoking.

Then, last night, we attended a Chinese New Year celebration at church. Food was catered by a local Chinese restaurant. I learned, as I was serving myself food, that almost all the food on the buffet line included enormous amounts of sugar and all manner of carbohydrates, both of which I should consume in very small amounts. Even though I tried to be judicious by selecting mostly vegetables, I ate a lot of the two “enemies” of my body. My blood glucose number this morning, while not horrible, was still higher than I wished.  Regardless, I enjoyed sitting and visiting with friends. One of these days, I will throw caution to the wind and will eat food with abandon and have wine or a cocktail or two. But that will be a long time coming. I have avoided alcohol since the last week in July; more than six months. I intend to rely on the same discipline to continue eating a healthy diet. Yet all work and no play makes John a cranky old man, so I will take care to avoid chronic crankiness.


Mi novia and I have been tapped to say a few words while lighting the chalice at the beginning of this morning’s service at church. Time to shave, shower, and read through the chalice-lighting message. And, so, I will stop this effort to squeeze creativity out of a dull, rough rock.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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