Originality is Birthed in the Ordinary

May 25, 2024 by Charlie Hedges − 0 Comments

Be regular and ordinary in your life…, so that you may be violent and original in your work.” Gustave Flaubert Novelist (1821-1880)

I am a creative. I write and think oddly. I live not in resonance with the norm. And that is not a choice, it is an intrinsic way of being. It is who I am by nature.

The Odd Man

The funny thing is… those who do not know me well may be surprised by my idiosyncrasies (or not). For, I can hold my own in public and at public events. My preference, however, is to do what I am doing right now. Sit at my computer and compose that which makes little sense to anyone except me. Yet to me it makes all the sense in the world.

To be insanely odd requires substantial comfort with one’s own oddness. In fact, sometimes it seems to be a matter of hubris. The older I get the quirkier I become because with age comes less need for the approval of others. And without the need for approval, I become ever freer.

A Proclivity for the Novel

It was several decades ago that I realized my need to live two lives: one which is regular and ordinary, and the other which exceeds the norm and propels itself into a world of the unknown and often, even, of the unacceptable.

For instance, I was thirty-five years old when upon graduation from a quite conservative theological seminary that my academic advisor said to me, “Charlie, I believe you have many years of good work ahead of you, but this one thing I have against you: You have a proclivity for the novel!”

Huh? What he intended as a warning I collected as some of the greatest words of encouragement ever given to me. For what is the alternative” “You have a proclivity to be like everyone else? Or you will “fit in” really well?” God forbid!

In his outstanding book The Creative Act, author/music producer Rick Rubin writes,

“If we’re aiming to create works that are exceptional, most rules don’t apply. Average is nothing to aspire to. The goal [in art] is not to fit in. If anything, it’s to amplify the differences.”

In Honor of Predictability and Sameness

I learned a very long time ago that in order to be creative and original, explosively so, I absolutely required sameness and ordinariness in my everyday live. I have daily rituals that are quite ordinary such as inspirational reading, meditation, and contemplative prayer.

I have four “spots” in my home: my bed where I spend 2 hours every morning reading and meditating, my 125-year-old-chair in my prayer room, my reading seat upstairs, and my night spot on the sofa for the evenings. Finally, I eat mostly the same meals almost every day. Day after day after day.

A Generative Fire

These habits supply the generative fire for interspersed times of creative meetings and podcast preparations and random acts of creative writing that has not been published (except in this blog) for nearly thirty years. My Raison D’etre.

Perhaps the most enjoyable thing I do creatively: I ponder… voraciously. All the time.

And so… I live a charmed life!

What about you?

The Same and the Ordinary

Are the Mother of Genuine Creativity

Photo courtesy of paulaphoto at istockphoto

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The Next Chapter Podcast
Living a life of meaning Living a life with adventure Living a life with awe