The imp sat on my shoulder yesterday as I shaped the hollows on an eagle’s wing. We had visited Mystic Seaport the previous week, and I had spotted some carving on a transom that I’d never successfully modeled in three dimensions. Something about how to carve it had always eluded me.
I had no real impetus to carve it, no one was clamoring for me to carve it for their yacht, so it was just a furtive tickle in the back of my mind. An annoyance.
The imp knows how my mind works. So I may never carve something exactly resembling that carving. But deep in the back mind, some part of my mind is turning it over and over again. So in a week or two, I may not even recollect the piece. Until one day, I am carving something, and, wow, what’s this? I get enthused and excited. I finish the work, get some photos, and sit back in satisfaction.
Then the imp comes and smugly sits on my shoulder—a furtive smirk on his face. What the heck is he so smug about? It takes a week or two. Then I am glancing at my gallery wall, and it hits me. That recent piece, what does it remind me of?
Then it hits me that incorporated into the design is a bit of that element that frustrated me for so long. I am pleased but also a bit annoyed that my creative process is so murky that I didn’t see this for weeks after finishing the piece. There is a quote about creativity that I like. Here it is:
“Creativity is knowing how to hide your sources.” – C.E.M. Joad
I don’t have to worry about that. The imp takes care of that.