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As I was gearing up for creative activity this morning, I got to thinking about the connection between cleaning and creativity. Cleaning, like walking or showering, is a mindless activity that allows the brain to sift through its contents, making connections between disparate thoughts and ideas. Creativity is no more than the combination of ideas that hereto fore have not been combined, so the pursuit of mindless activities is perfect for enhancing creativity, unless ….

Unless you ignore your creative ideas and continue cleaning, using cleaning as an excuse not to bring those ideas to fruition. Goodness knows, there’s ALWAYS something to clean. You can clean the house from top to bottom, ’til it sparkles like teeth on a toothpaste commercial, and ten minutes after you’re finished, the cat will barf kibble on the rug or a kid will pour a mixing bowl full of cereal and milk to eat and leave the dirty dish staring with accusation at you from the counter. If anything in life can be guaranteed, it’s filth begging to be de-filth-ified.

Other than this particular danger, cleaning is a wonderfully productive way to get your creative on. Although, I have to admit, it’s far more romantic to say you spent your moodling time on a walk along a secluded road than describing how you scrubbed pee off the rim of the toilet.

These thoughts of cleaning and creativity got me to wondering what fabulously famous musicians do for inspiration. Does Trent Reznor ever take a toothbrush & cleanser to the tile grout? Does Dave Matthews ever sort through the garage, scratching his head over how he accumulated all this stuff and what’s this turnip twaddler doing in here, anyway? What mindless activity do they engage in while stuck on a tour bus?

Part of the key to mindless activity is the activity part. Being physically active while the brain isn’t directly engaged gets the synapses firing. Long car trips make me sluggish, not creative. How must it be for bands on buses? How does the blurred landscape not turn their minds to mush? Do band members fight for the opportunity to wash the dishes, make the beds, and clean the bus bathroom? Somehow, I doubt it. What then do they do instead to keep their creativity flowing? Or, do they allow it to go on hiatus while on tour?


Incidentally, from a feng shui perspective, our bathroom happens to be in the creativity bagua of our house. Is it any wonder my own creativity has been sluggish considering the ferret I pulled out of the shower drain and the mildew ringing the interior of the toilet bowl?