And how do these creative thoughts come? They come in a slow way. It is the little bomb of revelation bursting inside you. I found I never took a long, solitary walk without some of these silent, inward bombs bursting quietly: "I see. I understand that now!" and a feeling of happiness.
- Brenda Ueland, If You Want to Write, 1938
Those little bombs. Nothing makes me happier, especially when they're set off by pulling on a thread that runs from parenting to medicine to theology to everything else. And this is what ignites them:
[T]he imagination needs moodling - long, inefficient, happy idling, dawdling and puttering. These people who are always briskly doing something and as busy as waltzing mice, they have little, sharp, staccato ideas, such as: "I see where I can make an annual cut of $3.47 in my meat budget." But they have no slow, big ideas. And the fewer consoling, noble, shining, free, jovial, magnanimous ideas that come, the more nervously and desperately they rush and run from office to office and up and downstairs, thinking by action at last to make life have some warmth and meaning.
This is one of the reasons I work part-time. My days at home with the (almost two-year-old) baby are for a kind of idleness. Two days of this a week yields good ideas. Three days led to rumination and meagreness. There's a fine line with these things.