Just a spark, a reminder that some time, a long time, ago there was a spark. A time when the heart beat a little faster and the mouth got a little drier when that person came into view or perhaps even just the hint of them coming into view, there was a spark. There is an imprint of that moment on my heart, unlikely to be ever put to the muscle memory test.
I notice lovers all around me, falling, fainting and swooning into each others arms, in an age of gender fluidity to further add to the complexity of emerging relationships. I grew up in a family where there were a range of relationships and complexity down through the generations, which grew in visibility as I got older and could interpret them for myself. I am sure there were plenty of sparks flying. I remember my father asking me if I understood the meaning of the song Afternoon Delight as I hummed along to it in the car one afternoon when I was about 16, I really had no idea, yet within a year I would have made a better guess. I think about songs like Tutti Frutti and how scandalous they would have been in their day, probably more so than the banned Skyhooks album I had bought that same year, the direct lyrics more understandable than the saccharine sweet rock of The Starland Vocal Band. There is something about Australian music that leaves little the imagination – direct, deliberate. I like that Australian quality which is not just in the music.
I fall in love with ideas, words, pictures and sounds. I have been known to fall in love with tastes as well (Maggie Beer’s Burnt Fig, Honeycomb and Caramel ice cream springs to mind). Little sparks of ideas come and go just like the early stages of a romance where you notice a glance, perhaps an adjustment of clothing, a deep breathe. You find yourself bathing in an idea or a perhaps even, drowning in delight of where that idea might take you, taking you off with fantasy to a land of future possibilities. Getting carried away is surely a sign of sparks flying. A sign. Something is beginning to burn, to fuse, to combust. The fuel and heat of the idea, just like hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, carbon dioxide, create a chain reaction and a new energy is released – made visible in a spark. Before you know it, more and more sparks are formed from one another dying to each other and growing more out of each of the little deaths. Ideas fall away and new ones rise up, fuelled and fed on the ones who have gone before. Like the lovers around me, intoxicating and generous.
The lessons of constraint, fences to hold the ideas in, are gifts, in much the same way as the limits lovers might set for each other. The gift of a constraint builds curiosity, innovation, potential. Over the years in my working life I have held the view there are really only three constraints, time, money and imagination. I have often settled on the view that lack of imagination is actually the only real constraint and the other two are there to help you stretch your imagination. Too often, too many resources, produces ineffective and completely unoriginal thinking. In my experience, when you don’t have much to play with, you are more likely to be clever and creative, more likely to come up with great ideas.
So it is inevitable, this is a season of creativity supported by constraint and ideas are being courted.
Before love there are sparks, so I am enjoying this dalliance with new ideas and there is muscle memory to draw on and synaptic pathways already made for ideas to travel. This is a practice for a pilgrim to walk a path trod by others and to make it your own, as it is after all your path too. And only you can walk your own path.
Sparks.will.fly and maybe even be able to carry you home to that place where ideas can flirt with you to fall in love with them and make them visible, direct and deliberate, and not sugar-coated.