Sunday, June 6, 2010

Creativity Boot Camp: Ivory (Day One)

During Creativity Boot Camp, I want to be intentional about sharing the writing that comes from the daily assignments. Perhaps, I'm sharing here because it will hold me accountable to the project. Or maybe I'm trying to recreate the soft space I found and loved so dearly in my college creative writing classes ... a whole group of writers creating, sharing, commenting, pushing each other and themselves toward birthing new ideas and raising them into great forces.
If you've written a post on your blog, please feel free to let me know via comment; I'd love to read/view others' work, but I know I won't be able to look at every post linked to the Creativity Boot Camp site (because there are, like, 500 participants! Wow!). And, no, it's not too late to join. And, yes, you should join.

Ivory, Day One

Green. The walls of our first home had to be a gentle blend of turquoise and green.

Green pressed against caramel-colored hardwood floors reminded me of the ocean meeting the sand on a lovely stretch of coastline. And for a girl who harbors such sweet memories of life-altering moments on the beach and who also abhors Chicago winter, nothing could be better than the peace of water meeting land inside the four walls of her home during all of the tumultuous Midwestern seasons, especially winter.

So we painted the walls two shades of green. One color soft, light, peaceful -- shades of a tranquil ocean -- spread over the walls of our living room, dining room, and front vaulted entry way. And the other color -- darker, richer like the sea after a storm -- plays accent on the tall wall that spans our living and dining rooms.

We trimmed the walls with a bright white, the perfect contrast, like puffy cumulus clouds resting above a rippling ocean.

I would have preferred hardwood floors throughout the entire house, but John insisted we cover the bedrooms with carpet. So we bantered about the color of carpeting for a weeks. He wanted a sand-colored carpet; but none complimented the hardwood floors the carpeting would butt up against. I wanted ivory. A softer white, like the sand at my favorite beach on Sanibel Island.

Impractical, he said. Completely impractical. It would get dirty. It would show wear. It would need to be steam cleaned every few months. And with a little boy {G. was 10 months then}, it was bound to be destroyed.

But I couldn't let go of wanting that perfect scene, the mix of waves and sand greeting me even in the midst of brisk Chicago winters. I clung to my vision fiercely, stubbornly, like an overtired child fights sleep two hours after bed time.

John warned that I'd regret my choice of fashion over function when little feet tracked mud across the carpet. But the desire was beyond beauty trumping practicality at that point.

It was about creating a space where I felt the warmth of sun in the dead of winter when its rays had no chance of penetrating the thick, dark clouds. The peace of waves swooshing over my toes while trapped inside those four walls during brutal January, arctic winds whipping through naked tree branches and whistling outside my window. The feeling of butterflies fluttering inside my stomach while digging my toes in the soft Mediterranean sand as my fingers brushed against the hand of my future husband during the weeks we spent apart while John traveled for work after we were married. The beautiful letdown from resting my head on my new husband's shoulders while watching the sun disappear behind leafy trees lining the lake on our first married vacation when we couldn't just pack up and leave for a weekend.

Because when something as simple as ivory carpet pressed against my four wall's soft hues of ocean-colored waves can bring that kind of joy, that kind of stillness and softness, a little dirt on the carpet doesn't really matter very much at all.

The ivory seems worth it.


  1. BEAUTIFUL. Your description made me feel the tranquility of the ocean and sand. What a true writing talent, and this challenge is perfect for you!

  2. I love it. I love what you were going for (um... hello... ocean lover...) and I love that you make it work even with two boys, a dog, and spills and chaos :)

  3. Beautiful writing. I not only enjoyed it, I felt it, I saw it, I was there. And good for you holding your ground.

  4. Great writing! I totally know what you mean by wanting what you see in your mind, despite the impracticality - I have the white lush reading chair to prove it ;)

  5. Oh yes! Totally worth it! H-I LOVE your interpretation of the theme! Well seen and so beautifully written!

  6. First time stopping by, finding you through the whole blogging loop (an avid Corrine reader :-) and so glad I have! This, the first post that I read, I can relate to so completely and thoroughly. My husband and I have built our own home (twice), and so each and every details was selected by us and to create a certain warmth and comfort that would mean home and help all the stresses of the day go away.

    Great job on this post! Lovely interpretation of the ivory theme. Looking forward to reading more.

  7. Beautiful colors! While I have never lived in the North, I hate the cold so I'm sure you need something to get you through the winter. At least you home is filled with warmth :)

  8. And now instead of dealing with those horrible bitter cold days, you can come to Mississippi!

    Your house is very tranquil!

  9. Wow. Just wow. I want to come sit on your couch and enjoy the Ivory and your company. We can have tea. And I won't spill any.


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