Struggling with Creativity

I am a person who enjoys drawing, but never knows what to draw. I love photography, but sometimes I run out of ideas about what to shoot. I am a good writer, but only in the term-paper or technical writing sense, because I find myself struggling with ideas of what to write. I came to a realization last night: I am creative, just not in the normal artistic way.

A customer came to me at my weekend job asking me if we had any replacement mailbox pulls (the little metal tab you pull to open the box). We don’t, so (don’t tell my boss about this), I offered to make him one outside of work. It took me an hour, starting with a four inch square piece of sheet aluminum, to cut, bend, trim, drill the pieces, and glue two of them together to make one stronger piece. Yesterday I was at work walking past the doors and windows department when I realized, hey I could make a killer desk out of a door. For two hours after I got home, I was thinking of how to create a desk using an old wood door, how cheaply I could do it, what to use for legs, and how to make it sturdy enough for hard use.

Previously I had decided my best bet for a big desk was to repurpose a dining room table. I want something big enough that I’m able to draw, write letters, (yes I still write letters), use my computer, and whatever else I do at my desk, without having to move things around every time I want to do something else. Basically, one side for computer usage, and one side for paper usage. I would also need enough surface space for my pen holder, my old lamp, an organizer, and some bookends. All of a sudden, I had this great idea to buy a worn wood interior door off of Craigslist, or buy a new one from Lowe’s, paint it and scuff the hell out of it, since they’re pretty cheap anyway, add a glass top, cut some 4×4 legs and a piece of crown molding (to wrap around the legs for a little decorative touch), and cut some 1×2 boards or something similar to build a frame. All this can be done for under $200 and should make for one awesome workspace. I’ll be building this in a few months, after my move, and I’ll be sure to post photos of the build.

After thinking about the desk, I realized the boxspring I have in storage is busted and so I will need another, or I will need to buy a boxspring-less bed frame. I then realized that I could build my own for under $100, likely to be more sturdy than the Ikea bed I had planned on buying and look just as good. Since I like it simple, I was thinking of other things I could make myself. Entertainment center? When I was in the Army, I built one out of milk crates for the gigantic bedroom I had at one of the houses I rented. How ’bout this time I use metal garage storage shelves, cut in half, painted black with sheet metal shelves for a good minimalist/industrial look? Strong and plenty big enough for my TV, DVD player, stereo system, some nice bookshelf speakers and my record and CD collection, or the cheap laptop I plan on buying for the sole purpose of holding my music.

I can’t begin to tell the ideas I’ve had for cars and trucks over the years. And when I was in high school I wanted to be an architect, then realized that life in an office would probably kill me, but I used to make home plan drawings on our big junk computer or on graphing paper, and recently I have done the same for a shop layout. I even designed that shop and fully intend on building it if I end up buying my own land. Here’s a hint: it’s made partially of recycled steel storage containers (you know, the ones the put on train cars and semi trucks and put on ships?). Three of them in a u-shape, with large holes cut in the sides for homemade barn doors,  a gable roof overhead, a couple feet of clearance between the containers and the roof to let in a breeze (I do live in Texas after all), and a tall fence and gate instead of a front wall and garage door. This way I can have an open-air shop with plenty of lockable storage for parts, spare engines, tools and equipment. Just remind me not to build it next to a gravel road, as my current rented shop has a 1/4″ layer of dust on everything.

All in all, I came to the conclusion that yes, I am a creative guy, just not creative in the artsy or literary way. I guess you could say that I’m creative in a more practical way. The things I come up with save me money and allow for a personal flair to something that someone else would normally just buy from Target or Ikea. I respect writers and artists and musicians, I appreciate all they do, and I love a lot of it, but it’s just not me. Unlike a lot of people of my generation who see the internet as a way to create and expose content, be it good or bad, I’ll stand by and appreciate the creativity of the greats in our world, while not pretending that I am one of them. Instead, I’ll appreciate the creativity I do have in making things that will be of use to me and my future family.


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