Everything Fun
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Everything Fun

Finding Bliss

A recent call for stories about special places for creative work got me thinking — smiling, in fact. The article talked about establishing a bliss station, specifically designed to inspire creativity. Talk about bliss!

Writers — and all creatives, I suspect — struggle with the ideal environment for their endeavors. I know I do. I find the northern woods very conducive to releasing the fancy in my brain and pouring it out in the form of prose. It must be something in the air, the aroma of pine trees and river water, the sounds of Mother Nature calling to me to create.

I can literally sit up in bed at our place up north, mind chockful of amazing stories. I fling off the covers and race for my computer, fingers attempting to keep up with the content slopping out of every orifice. Hours can go by and I’m in my own little world, typing furiously. I finally look up and sigh contentedly, feeling a burst of endorphins, much like a super intense physical work-out.

Now that is creative bliss.

However.

As much as I would like to spend as much time as possible in the woods, life hasn’t worked out that way — at least not yet. The majority of my time finds me at home in metropolitan Detroit. While we are blessed to have a beautiful house and a wonderful back yard, not to mention amazing city attractions, it just isn’t the same. I find myself struggling to find my creative happy place.

I miss the bliss.

Now I fancy myself a problem-solver, so I’ve been brainstorming solutions to this issue for some time. I’ve wandered the house, settling into random corners of various rooms, perched by a window. I’ve certainly found my way outside to see if Mother Nature would appear and sprinkle me with creative dust. Sadly, she sometimes seems missing in action in suburbia, drowned out by the grating sounds of the multitudes of lawn crews with their mowers and leaf blowers. Nothing seems to dry up the creative mind than the sound of a leaf blower.

Back inside I go.

But then something interesting occurred. My retired husband decided to get a master’s in history, because why not? That, along with his other interests and volunteer work, required a quiet place and I graciously gave up my desk in our shared study. Eldest daughter with a background in scenic design came up with a fascinating plan. We had a rarely-used bedroom that we called the reading room, though rarely did anyone sit in there and read. She decided it would make a marvelous study for me. Left alone to our devices one Sunday morning, we transformed the two rooms. My husband gained a quiet place to write history papers, with his love of history surrounding him on the walls and shelves. She also took a neglected little room and made it into a joyous — yes blissful — creative space for me.

The transformation was epic. When we were all done, we looked around in wonder and I noted that my whole life was represented in this cozy space. A teddy bear from when I was in the hospital for a tonsillectomy at four years old. Pictures of my beloved family. My favorite books — lots of them. Symbols of my passions and beliefs. A solid sampling of the bounty of Mother Nature. A dry erase board for brainstorming. A study in tomatoes painted by my Mom. These are just a few of the many treasures housed in this newly-imagined room.

While I still wander about the house when words don’t want to come out and play, I often retreat to my study — my cozy special space where all elements of my life wrap around me. They coax out those words with no trouble at all.

Bliss found.

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Betsy Hayhow Hemming

Betsy Hayhow Hemming

Betsy Hayhow Hemming is an author and leadership coach. She writes fiction and creative nonfiction. www.betsyhemming.com.