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I need just one thing when I’m creating; I need serenity.
— Thomas W.P. Slatin
Before I explain my need for serenity, let’s go back a few years, shall we? I was born and raised in New York City, then for whatever reason, my parents sent me to college in West Virginia. I sought refuge from the very different culture and very backwards thinking of those who also attended the university at the time by spending most of my time outside of class in my dormitory room.
Knowing that I need serenity to get work done, to study, and to concentrate, I elected to live in a dormitory with a 24-hour quiet rule, in which residents were required to keep the hallways whisper quiet at all times. This, however, was rarely, if ever the case. The dormitory was always loud until around 10:00 at night, and the weekends were loud all through to Monday morning. The only time the dormitory was ever truly quiet was on Sunday mornings when church was in session.
My dormitory room was a simple affair. I had a bookshelf filled with my favorite books, my music collection on CD’s, random gadgets and gizmos and geeky time wasting toys to provide needed distraction, and a boom-box style stereo system. The toys included little things like a marble, a handful of interesting-looking stones I had found, and for whatever reason, my fire helmet from home. At night I would do my school work, though the majority of my creative pursuits were done early in the morning before anyone else in the dormitory had the chance to get up and begin creating unnecessary noise. Although I had a collection of roughly 30 or more album CD’s, my Sarah McLachlan album Surfacing was played on a regular, almost constant basis whenever I needed to relax and create.
I used to create ambiance by making my writing sessions an almost spiritual experience by writing by candle light, and the occasional incense. Sometimes I would feel homesick and needed some reminders of home, so I would go to the student center and purchase Starbucks coffee in bottles and Hershey chocolate bars to remind myself of home.
As time went on, I realized what I wanted to do with my life. I wanted to be a writer and turn my passion into a career. I took English Humanities Classes, which almost killed any interest in writing. I need serenity, but I also need to be left alone and keep criticism about my creative pursuits to a minimum. There is no way to teach creativity, at least in my opinion; one can teach the rules of how things are to be documented, or teach methods of how to create, but as far as I am concerned, expect all of these rules and methods to be ignored.
Fast-forward to modern day; I still need serenity. I prefer rainy days, waking up early to write, and doing all my writing in Moleskine notebooks. I am flat-out obsessed with Moleskine notebooks. I need alone time to get my work done. It doesn’t make a difference if I am doing photography, writing my epic tales, or designing digitally. I cannot be distracted, or I immediately lose focus.
Put simply… I need serenity.
The header image is based on an original photograph of Devil’s Cliff in Crawford Notch State Park, New Hampshire. The font used in the header image is Amatic Small Caps.
In an effort to make this one of the most epic posts of all time, I have decided to point out a few underlying themes that you may not have noticed, as well as some of the background that helped to inspire this post. The following text is taken directly from my notes:
college dormitory life, writing by candle light, The Sarah McLachlan Album (Surfacing), Useless Humanities Class (almost killed my interest in writing), coffee was always needed, gizmos & time wasters (and bookshelf contents), rainy days, alone time
Guest post: Tom Slatin On How He Finds Inspiration Through Life Experiences (More) | Growing Up Introvert | A Notebook For Every Purpose | Time And Time Again | Congratulations To My Friend, Tracey Lynn Tobin On Completing Her First Book, Nowhere To Hide! More information about the book here.