In my life I have attempted all sorts of things that might be termed creative endeavor. I’ve been a writer all my life, filling notebooks that would stack a couple of yards high with handwritten meanderings. I possess yellowed newspaper clippings of articles I wrote for the school newspaper in high school and college. I wrote my first book on my first computer, a Commodore 64, and have the big floppy (truly floppy) discs to prove it.
It is a blessing to readers everywhere that I don’t have the technology to read or print the writing on those old floppy discs, but it was fun writing it at the time. Imagine: 64 K of RAM, no mouse–only arrow keys, and software that would allow me to save 12 whole pages of text in a single file!
I went through a macrame phase and learned to tie every kind of knot that could possibly be incorporated into a wall hanging, a plant hanger, a purse, or a belt.
I went through a pottery phase and learned to throw cups, bowls, plates, and vases which I covered with my favorite glaze–maybe yellow.
I taught in public schools and colleges and spent hours dreaming up creative ideas for lessons, presentations, bulletin boards, and projects. When the cooperative learning movement came along, I had so much fun with it that I wrote several books about teaching writing using cooperative learning.
In 1995 I learned HTML and am still hooked on the creative thrill that comes from making a new web page. I’ve seen it in students, too. They manage to get a few words or an image to appear on a web page and they are thrilled with the achievement. It’s an addictive type of creativity, too, because it is so easy to make changes: instant gratification at the press of a few keys. You simply get lost in it–you are in the zone, oblivious to anything but your creative process.
Of all the creative activities I’ve enjoyed over the years, I am convinced that making web pages is the best and most fun. Maybe I feel that way because I have stayed with it for almost ten years now, a much longer streak of success than I had with macrame or pottery. But that isn’t it. The real reason why making web pages is so wonderful just occurred to me this week.
It occurred to me this week because I am packing to move. I’m downsizing, too. So I’ve been throwing away or donating all sorts of tired old macrame plant hangers and eccentrically shaped mixing bowls and brittle strips of ancient newsprint. Everything I don’t donate or discard, I have to find a place to store: some wall, some cabinet, some shelf, some drawer has to be available to hold this object I created with such a burst of enthusiasm.
That’s when I realized. Web pages don’t take up any space. They are just a few bytes of data on my computer and on a server. Otherwise they are part of the ether: massless, weightless, invisible. They don’t have to be boxed up and moved, they don’t need any wall space or shelf space when I get to my new place. Yet I can get that old creative thrill by producing a new web page at any time. THAT’S why making web pages is so much fun.