Monday, June 11, 2007

Crumbs of Creativity

So, what do you do when you have writer's block?

Sometimes life becomes so predictable that it lulls me into a kind of mental slumber. I've been hard at work trying to be a better parent by keeping my kids on a stricter daily schedule. The scheduling seems to have succeeded in squelching my creativity nearly completely. Here's the most creative thing I've done recently:

The other day I was at the park, unofficially supervising my 4 and a half year old playing with her spirited neighborhood four-year-old friend (it has to be unofficial supervision or the girls demand that I play with them. Or they try to escape from my line of view.) On such occasions I tote along a large mug of ice coffee and a book. Then I sit on a park bench and then, I eventually lay down on the park bench (stomach down) which always causes every single child in the park to stop what they are doing and laugh and point at me. "Ha ha ha Miss 4 1/2's mother is laying down!"

I have this vague idea that mothers aren't generally supposed to relax or take it easy here in Japan. Based on observations conducted at my in-laws dwellings the women/mothers must be in perpetual motion--cooking, cleaning, washing, hanging up laundry, bringing in laundry, dusting, vacuuming, sewing, folding laundry, shopping, scrubbing. It has always disturbed me that the majority of time in which I have observed the male in-laws they have been seated, watching T.V., drinking beer or tea and smoking. Only my very oldest female in laws appear to be allowed to sit in one spot for a decent amount of time.

So I guess the weird gaijin (foreigner) mom who does a belly flop down on the wooden bench in the local park must be funny. I don't care. My back hurts if I try to sit up straight and read. Plus, and here's the purpose of this tale: I have found that I can see the print perfectly and without any kind of resulting headache if I lay the book on the ground and look down at it from my prone position on the bench. Good god am I old now or what? But I am not comfortable holding the book at arm's length away from my face while reading sitting up. This book on the grass and me laying on the bench solution is so much better. Although laying on the bench like a blob of baker's dough left out to raise isn't increasing my productivity much.

Speaking of dough, I got my haircut last week. The results in the salon were amazing. I have no idea how he did that to my hair. No matter what I do I can't get it (my hair) to do anything other than form awful cowlicks all over my head. My husband's comment on the new style was, "it's completely flat on top and frizzy on the sides". Of course he only saw it after I had attempted to style it myself. You got it. I now look like Bozo the overweight, 40-year-old mother clown. You know her? The one that is always passed out on the bench at the park?

Back to the hairdressers though. In Japan there are two things about getting your hair cut that I absolutely love. The first is that when they are shampooing your hair they lay a fine gauze cloth over your face. It's absolutely lovely no longer worrying about whether or not they are looking at my nose hair or worrying that they caught me gazing up in horror at their nose hair.

The second thing I love is that after the shampoo they lead you back to your chair and before your stylist reappears the shampoo girl or boy gives you a shoulder massage. Some places have even given me hand massages too. This last time, either my stylist understood that due to the incredibly baby fine nature of my gaijin hair my head was going to swell up like a loofah gone mad as soon as I left the premises and walked out into the hot humid Japanese June weather and felt guilty about it or he just sensed that in my pathetic uneventful, fairly frustrated existence I needed a massage badly, but the girl gave me the world's best massage for about 15 minutes! It went on and on and at first I worried about why and then I worried that she was going to stop soon and then I just started to think the same thing over and over, "I wish I were a lump of bread so I could be kneaded and kneaded and kneaded."

So I have writer's block. I am enjoying life as a carbohydrate. Eventually I'll have to snap out of it and resume human form. And when I do, maybe I'll be able to write something decent again. What do you do when writing seems like an act too tedious to be attempted?


Sarah said...

I eat a cookie! A little sugar high does wonders for creative thinking.

I have always enjoyed getting my hair cut but I do not enjoy the results afterward. Maybe I'm just not styling it right but I never used to have this problem so I'm pretty sure it's the way they're cutting it.

Seriously, I am praying that I'll find a stylist that is American.

coarse gold girl said...

I've had the same experience with hair dressers here in Japan. The only one who ever gave me a decent cut for my hair's texture, thickness,etc. was one who had trained in Australia. The thing that drives me crazy is the "thinning". Why do they have to texturize my hair when it is already baby fine? whispy? fly away and a humidity sponge?

Seriously, you'd laugh if you saw me once I step outside for three minutes now. Ever see the episode of Friends where Monica's hair explodes into a total afro from humidity when they go to some tropical island?

those texturizing siccors are called "basami" and I forgot to tell the guy, "basami DAME" this last time.

Sheri said...

I hate getting my hair cut here, too. Why they ned to use the hairdryer so much?! The place I go to now I like the results of but the process is agony for me. Cut a little, dry a little, check length, cut a little, dry more, etc. It takes 2 hours! And the whole dryer thing while y hair gets frizzier by the second really bugs me, too!
Ok, done venting. :)

Claire said...

Don't worry, just let the ideas keep fermenting. Something is brewing inside even if it's too slow to see anything happening immediately...

I know exactly what you mean about women being in perpetual motion in Japanese families, though. The scary thing is I've become like that too! The only time I sit still at home is while I'm on the computer. Otherwise there's always something else that needs doing - folding laundry, picking up toys, emptying the dishwasher. My husband thinks I enjoy it. I don't - it's just become a reflex!

Gina said...

Tag you're it! Cruise on over to my blog when you have some time please! : )

Lily said...

I haven't written or painted anything decent in a long time but if I need to be inspired- reading or watching something about creative individuals works wonders. So if you have a favorite writer, perhaps reading about his/her life and following it up with some of their work might get the juices flowing again.

Gaijin Mama said...

I know exactly what you mean about that constant busyness. The other day I saw a woman sweeping the road in front of her house - where the cars drive! Where does it end???!