Tear it up into teeny-weeny pieces

6.42 on a Sunday morning and instead of being in bed for another 4 hours like normal people I’m pondering the nature of creativity (pondering = getting annoyed; creativity = my inability to think of anything).

I write a 6 line poem following Kurt Vonnegut’s instructions:

Don’t show it or recite it to anybody […] Tear it up into teeny-weeny pieces, and discard them widely […]. You will find that you have already been gloriously rewarded for your poem. You have experienced becoming, learned a lot more about what’s inside you, and you have made your soul grow.

Kurt Vonnegut’s letter to the students of Xavier High School

He was right! I do feel “gloriously rewarded”. Mostly because my poem was full of swear words. But also because making something just to tear it up feels rebellious.

I’m a ‘make things that last’ person, a ‘but what does it all mean‘ person, and that’s why I’m awake at silly o clock trying to think of something profound and interesting to say. But creativity is also about making things that will blink in and out of existence. It’s about making them because they’ll blink in and out of existence.

Maybe knowing that you’ll tear it up into teeny-weeny pieces is the practice of bringing something into being for the pleasure of appreciating it while it’s here.

Maybe the ability to enjoy something knowing that it won’t last is the point.

And maybe the other words for this are Gratitude and Joy.

Practice any art, music, singing, dancing, acting, drawing, painting, sculpting, poetry, fiction, essays, reportage, no matter how well or badly, not to get money and fame, but to experience becoming, to find out what’s inside you, to make your soul grow.

Kurt Vonnegut

Vonnegut your Sunday! Make your soul grow.

Photo by PhotoMIX Ltd. on Pexels.com

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