Chapter 11 is titled “Creative Recreation,” and I have to admit it rubbed me the wrong way in spots.
I like what Edith said in the beginning:
Creative recreation, in my personal definition, can be thought of in two ways. Firstly, it is recreation which produces creative results, stimulates creativity, refreshes one ideas and stirs one to “produce.” Secondly, it is recreation which is the result of original ideas, creative because someone has creatively planned an evening, a day, an occupation which in itself is fresh and different (p. 165).
No argument there.
People differ so tremendously in what recreation does for them that one could not give hard and fast rules as to what would stimulate creativity (p. 165).
Very much agree there.
My problem comes when she expresses her opinion that this is best done by getting away from everything and getting back to nature, and she gives various ways to do that.
I have never been an outdoorsy girl, not even since early childhood. My mom would have to “make” me go outside to play. Since we’ve had children, yes, we’ve played in the park, gone camping, had various forays to the beach, the lake, etc., and we’ve had some fun family times. But I can’t say that any of them, for me, served to “produce creative results, stimulate creativity, refresh one ideas and stir one to ‘produce.'” So the pages and pages of that just fell flat to me and even irritated me a little bit. I did feel very rested after one extended trip to the beach at a during a spring break when our school was on break on a different week than other area schools, and we had most of the place to ourselves. But most of my forays into nature are something I “endure” rather than something that produces creativity.
In various parts of the book she has used the word “plastic” a lot to refer to modern life, but here she takes it to new heights, even saying that “natural” fabrics give us more of a feel “of interacting with or relating to nature” because when we wear wool we think of sheep grazing, when we wear linen we think of flax growing, etc. Seriously? I admit I like cotton, but I don’t think of fields of cotton when I am wearing it. My husband has worked in the textile industry for most of his career, dealing mostly with fibers that result from petroleum manufacturing (which can be a pretty fascinating process). I guess you could say even that is “natural” in a way, though Edith probably would not, but I am not necessarily thinking about that when I appreciate my mixed blend of fibers which causes me not to have to iron my clothes.
I do agree with the need for conservationism, to “get away from it all” sometimes, etc., but I appreciate the conveniences of modern life too much to have much criticism of it. And I think even people who are more critical of it use a lot more of it than they think.
But enough of that.
I did like the section on the second part of her definition, “recreation which is the result of original ideas,” and her description of Treasure Hunt meals. And I agree that there are things we can do to foster or to kill creativity (or at least allow it to lay dormant), and it is better to do the former.
So, this has ended up being my least favorite chapter so far. I wish she had explored some other avenues of stimulating creativity. I would have to say that activities for me that do that are more likely to be reading, going to craft shows or stores, perusing Pinterest, even working on things with other people and being stimulated by their ideas.
Updated to add: Just to clarify, I’m not anti-nature. I can be inspired by and instructed by it and see God’s glory in it, even with the after-effects of man’s fall in it. It just doesn’t fit in with Edith’s description of creative recreation for me and I was frustrated that that’s the only avenue of creative recreation she discussed.