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Unhelpful Hints for Creativity

2012 December 11
by Ann L. Carter

Need to organize materials for the workshop.










Yesterday I was trying to get ready for a creativity group meeting I was hosting at my house.   I was planning to demonstrate the use of encaustic to make art and then give the members a chance to create their own pieces.  As usual, I had too much to do in one short day and decided to ask Heloise for help.  Here’s the way our correspondence went:


Dear Heloise—-I have a workshop tomorrow and don’t know whether to focus on cleaning the house, making quiche for the potluck that’s part of the workshop (my idea to add that extra special touch), or getting the materials ready.  Could you please give me some advice.  Can’t Decide in Kansas.

Dear Can’t Decide—Since you obviously have waited too long to get ready for this “workshop” or whatever the hell you’re calling it, you had better just do a little of each and hope the participants in this “workshop” don’t have too high expectations.  And don’t bother to write again.  Heloise

Dear Heloise—-I must say I was a little shocked by your reply, as I had been told you offered complimentary cleaning people in cases like mine.  As for the “workshop”, it may not be real but there’s no need for negative remarks.  One participant (who sadly had to cancel at the last minute) even referred to it as a “master class” and I think she wasn’t being sarcastic, though it’s hard to tell the tone via email.  So, just to let you know you could have been more helpful.  Can’t Decide in Kansas.

Dear Can’t Decide—Might I suggest that instead of spending the time writing to me, you start on the jobs for this “master class”, or whatever the hell the dropout called it.   Heloise

Dear Heloise—I don’t know how you start your morning, but do you really jump out of bed and immediately start cleaning and cooking?  If that is the case, might I recommend a book for you, “Starting the Day with Quiet Meditation or Sitting Drinking Tea While Checking Email”.  I think it could improve your attitude.  Just saying….Can’t Decide in Kansas.

Dear Can’t Decide—Have you by any chance had trouble finding a mate on  Just saying….Heloise

Dear Heloise—-Funny you should ask, as I have had some issues there, but that’s too long a story to get into here and I’m rather surprised that you would ask this question knowing that I have so much work to do today.  However, if you would kindly resend the question the day after tomorrow, I can answer it and tell you how my workshop went.  Until then, I wish you good luck with your “advice” column.  Will Decide on My Own in Kansas.


So what I decided was to start with one thing (cleaning litter boxes), finish it, do another (brushing dog hairs off the couch), and so on, bird by bird, until things were more or less ready–oh, and with a short nap late afternoon.  And now, the next evening, the last participant has left, the materials have been put back into my cluttered art room, and I am thinking about how things went.   Everyone said it was a success and, without the uncertainty of tone via email, I don’t doubt their sincerity.  I think it was great because each person came up with unique pieces—something only she could do.   And we had fun in the process, we enjoyed being creative.  There’s not much like doing something different to spark creative energy.   And that’s why, Heloise, it was a real workshop, whatever the heck you may want to call it.

Encaustic materials ready to go.

Imbedding into the wax.


2 Responses Post a comment
  1. Terry permalink
    December 11, 2012

    May i say, that I was THERE for this workshop…..and it was a he– uva workshop Heloise. Too bad you didn’t come!

  2. Marsha permalink
    December 27, 2012

    Sometimes the Heloises of the world have to have a reality check, as you so comically provided. I had a good laugh reading your post.

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