Thursday, February 3, 2011

Reason and Creativity. I'm Obsessed.

Enid. She might be the reason I make lists today.

I have always been prone to obsessive creativity.

Since childhood, I’ve kept journals and journals of sketches, songs and poems. I have these marbled notebooks filled with words and drawings, spanning 15 years of questions, dreams, obsessions.

From a child’s innocent concerns about war, to DC Talk lyrics, all the way to Shakespeare and a teenage girl’s bleeding heart.

Always writing. Always keeping track. But when I say obsessive, I mean it. My left brain shows itself clearly in lists and orders. Tally marks and columns.

My right brain was the rollercoaster. My left brain the seatbelt that kept me restrained; kept me from losing it all together.

Create. Create. Create. Reason.
Create. Create. Create. Reason.

Before I would spend time coloring Cinderella’s dress, I would mark down every color in my crayon box.

I’d write out the multiplication table, just to make sure I still remembered it. Then immediately follow up with a poem about rainbows and Mt. Kilamanjaro (which apparently, is “very, very tallo”…genius. I know.)

When I was a teenager, my great-aunt Margie pulled out sketchbooks and ramblings of her sister Enid. In any normal case, you'd think this was a special moment. One where we'd wipe tears and marvel at family similarities and smile pleasantly at genetic creativity.

Instead that was not the case.

See... Enid went crazy. Certifiably, in the asylum, never heard from again the young, inspired age of 24.

We have theories. Ideas. Fears of misdiagnosis. Questions about her fate.

But all that I knew then was that Enid was the one no one heard from after the age of 24.

And, according to Margie, I was just like Enid.

I continued to write, sing, draw, journal. But deep inside I waited for my 24th birthday. The day I was convinced my mind would take a dive off of the cliff.

(Imagine my relief to have 24 come and go without nary an eye twitch.)

However, it's there in me. The tendency to not keep order in my chaos. The temptation to throw myself into madness that turns into dark hallways and mysterious fates, sadness that turns to heaviness, and burdens that I hold onto with a death grip. Somedays I think, there but for grace go I.

Perhaps it's why I make lists today. There's some explanation for my note-taking, dry erase markers hanging from the fridge, and color-coordinated closet. It’s not for ease or routine. Or even for productivity. I do it for the Enid blood that courses through me.

It’s the marking of every color before I draw.

I'm taking every thought captive. I'm clicking seatbelts over my mind.

I create so that I can reason. I reason so that I can create.


  1. I am a wishful list maker ( if that makes since)I make lists when i choose not to hold them in my mind and when i do write it all down it is amazing at how orderly your day goes. I am wishful music writer also. Word come off my lips in song but are never written down. I should.

  2. wow. what a history. i like this post.

  3. And, never forget, the power of the Savior to whom you cling...

    You are not her, but you are His.

  4. John Piper had an update on FB. He posted: ‎"I profess to be one of those who, by profiting, write, and by writing profit." — John Calvin.

  5. So glad you did not go the way of Aunt Enid. Though I'd imagine she disappeared into the sunset to live a vivid and poetic life. :)

    Taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ is indeed the way to loose any hold on your heart by preconceived notions or fears of what could be.

    And the more I ponder the grace of God, the more I'm convinced that the obedience of Christ has more to do with grace than anything else.

  6. I love hearing your words. You are so real and honest! I want to pass on a Stylish Blogger Award to you.
    Come over to my blog to pick it up. Don't feel obligated to accept it...just want you to know how much I enjoy reading.:)

  7. Jenn — carry a notebook around to make lists! :)
    Kendal — thanks friend :)
    Jen — this is true. I'm so glad he's bigger than any genetic makeup.
    Dee — I LOVE that quote.
    Cindy — I imagine that she found freedom, somewhere. I pray she does.
    Amelia — Thanks so much!! I'll go visit your blog now! :)