Creative people. Creative types. You know those people. The right-brained oddballs, who dress funny and speak funny and are just out there, you know? As much as I hate to admit it, I have labeled them this way. It’s an adjective I have used for those I am a bit jealous of because they have something I don’t have and are something I can’t be. I use it as a descriptor, a label, a separator.
Recently, I came across the phrase “the creating life”… and I like it. It’s an approach to life that looks for ways to grow things. To make things more lovely, more meaningful, more effective, more productive, more whole. Perhaps to add to what comes along or maybe just to shuffle things in their places or offer an alternative point of view. It’s lively, abundant and fruitful.
And it’s a verb. It’s active. It’s present tense. It’s something I can do and keep doing. It seeks and, by its very nature, it finds. It seems a very good way to live.
How do I claim what I know?
That may sound silly but it is the topic of my conversation with Jodi, my law student daughter. This is on my mind because, as a blogger and fitness professional in this age of the internet, I give lots of stuff away. Intellectual stuff. You tempt and tease readers with articles about what you do, how it could help them, why they should buy, invest, sign up. Gleaning emails is considered good business practice.
But much of what I post, both here and on my website, is what I know. On my website, it’s what I have learned and discovered and worked out over the years. Here, the discovering happens when I write from some nugget that lands in my brain. Either way, it’s what I know. And my question is, “does it belong to me?”
Because once it’s written and sent over the digital airwaves, it’s free for the taking. Anyone can cut and paste, copy and post, re-blog or tweet, or who knows what. And I’m good with that. As long as it is used appropriately and they acknowledge the source. But what if the re-poster calls it their own? Does it really belong to me? I mean, it’s just an idea and some words on a computer screen.
Jodi, who is researching copyrights and patents and the difference between them, says, “Mom, it’s your intellectual property.”
“When does it become my intellectual property?” I ask, so TOTALLY out of my league now.
“The moment you write it.”
“You mean, the second I type the words, that thought is mine?” My mind is racing now. “Don’t I need to copyright them or something?”
“You can. But you don’t have to,” my amazingly wise daughter tells me. She cites some findings and uses some big lawyerly words but they are muffled by the spinning now happening between my ears.
So every time I sit down to write, I am creating something. Something real. Something I own. And the law recognizes this.
So all those stories that are in orbit in my brain…if I write them, they are mine. If I name them, I claim them. The second I create them, they become real. That is amazing. That’s a big responsibility. That’s scary.
Other words intervene, somehow slowing the spinning.
“He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” ~ Revelation 21:5
God is constantly commanding us to write his words: on door frames, on scrolls, on tablets, on our hearts, and in our minds. It’s not enough for us to think them; we are to write them. Because then they become ours.
- when He speaks our name, we come to life.
- when He writes our name, we are claimed.
- when He calls our name, we are saved.
If I am God’s intellectual property, then when I write what he is creating in me, it is mine…and His. He knows the law. After all, He wrote it. And keeps writing it. Praise God.
Displaced from my usual writing spot at my desk and even my special springtime spot on the front porch, I settled (grudgingly) onto a picnic table on the back porch. The writing surface is a bit grimy and uneven so I brought out some lovely place mats to smooth over my discomfort. No go.
When I write, I want my pen to flow completely unhindered over its surface. This is easy to do on the pages of my journal – college ruled composition book, the current one, yellow in color. But today’s writing was simply the recording of scripture verses as I looked them up. No original thoughts, ideas or insights. Heavens, these words were thousands of years old. I had read and transcribed them many times, but still, they deserved smooth.
So I placed my single printed page on top of my yellow journal, #35 of its kind by my count, and began again to write.
“Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?” I copied from my Bible onto this page. “A cheerful heart is good medicine,” I penned. “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made,” I wrote.
Then…”The word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” I shaped these words in purple fine point pen on the page and then stopped. Suddenly I became aware that each word I wrote on the single sheet was being transferred onto the face of the yellow journal underneath. Invisible to the eye, it was simply indentation. Words written on top and around and over, tangled, with no concern for alignment or periods or capital letters. Invisible, unless a great blank sheet were overlayed and the side of a pencil gently rubbed over. Then, all these words would be revealed.
Perhaps this is how the Word of God is written on us. Etched in divine penmanship. Then, when a new, pure white sheet it overlayed, the hand of life smoothly strokes us up and down. The Great Revealing Pencil uncovers what’s been hidden to all eyes but His. What He has spoken into existence is revealed.
“We are God’s workmanship created in Christ Jesus to do good works which God prepared in advance for us to do,” I wrote, shaping the words onto this page, now aware they were being transferred invisibly to the one underneath.
If a child, perhaps my child, brought her paper and shading pen today and colored on my life, what would be revealed?