We’re discussing The Hidden Art of Homemaking by Edith Schaeffer a chapter at a time at The Hidden Art of Homemaking Book Club hosted by Cindy at Ordo Amoris.
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.
enjoyed your commentary, Barbara ~
do consider going back and putting up your link, as I think we all appreciate hearing various impressions
It was there – I don’t know what happened to it, but I put it up again.
As I was reading your comments about not being the outdoorsy type who finds creativity and stimulation, I immediately thought about the inspiration that comes from perusing Pinterest. And then you mentioned it at the end of your post 🙂 I agree with you that there are many many ways to be stimulated by recreation and in today’s digital world, we can have so much access. I like looking through my friends’ Flickr images and seeing some of the truly excellent work out there. That stimulates me and makes me want to reach higher and look better and think clearer.
Every time my kids read the Little House books, they were sooooo ready to be completely back to nature, making all of those cool tools, driving oxen, and living simply–and eating all of those yummy things the Ingalls family made. I often had the reaction that it’s great IF you don’t have to get up before dawn, work every day and every hour . . . .
I had to laugh out loud at your reaction to the natural fiber clothing. I personally don’t like itchy wool or wrinkly linen. There’s a lot to say for blends and progress. :o) You’re right!!!
Though I probably live more back to nature than a lot of people, I admit enjoying the comforts in the U.S. when we visit. As I get older, my camping days are over, and my ideas of recreation are different. Let’s face it; Mrs. Schaeffer lived in a chalet on a mountainside.
Thoroughly enjoyed your post! God bless you!
It is funny that you did not like the chapter but your explanation makes sense. I used to live more Little Houseish and I do love my central air and carpet and real windows now!!
One reason I like baseball is that it forces me outdoors but I general tend to love being outside.
I am very happy you gave your contrarian opinion. Last week we all basically said the same thing 🙂
“My mom would have to “make” me go outside to play.” Me too!
I am not an outdoorsy person either. To be outdoor has the opposite effect on creative recreation for me!!! Personally, I just like to imagine what it’s like to be outdoors, and not necessarily want to be in it for real…
interesting, how so many of us are not the outdoorsy type.
Your comments about “plastic” vs. “natural” had me laughing – I had the same thoughts! I guess I blocked that part of her chapter out when it came time to write up my post.
A good book, a quiet chat with a friend, some ‘alone’ time while browsing pinterest, shopping for fabric – these things restore and rejuvenate me.
Thank you for your beautifully crafted post!
I have been behind in reading and posting with this book club, and I purposefully refrain from reading others’ thoughts until I have formulated my own, so when I came to read yours, I was amused at how much similarity there was. A nature girl I am not. 🙂
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