I love Eric Carle, the author and artist behind classic children’s books like The Very Hungry Caterpillar. I stumbled across his blog and really like these thoughts about creativity, time, seeds, and hatchlings:
Thursday, September 3, 2009
Sometimes ideas for my books seem to burst into bloom. But often the seed of the idea had been planted much earlier; had been growing quietly inside me for years. An example of this, the seed or idea for my book From Head to Toe, was planted all the way back when I was in high school. I had a strong aversion to physical exercise and sports and felt pressured by the competitive nature of physical education. As a result, I often skipped gym class.
Years later, as an adult, I suffered from back pain (while I enjoyed walking and gardening I spent a lot of time at my desk in my studio and all of the sitting I was doing started to catch up with me). I went to see a massage therapist who gave me exercises which I did every day. These stretches had wonderful names: “Angry cat” was one of them and “old horse” was another. As I did these exercises the feelings from years before, of not enjoying gym class – of feeling like an outsider at school when it came to sports – came to the surface. The seed for the story started to grow and with the names of the exercises dancing in my imagination, the idea for From Head to Toe began to take hold. A young child once told me, “Ideas come from both your inside and your outside.” I have found this to be true for me. The inside event (the feelings I had as a school boy who didn’t like gym class), and the outside event (doing the exercises given to me by my massage therapist) somehow mingled together to make a book.
Taking time, letting things unfold, being alert to the stories all around him. That’s what makes Eric Carle a *great* writer.