"...And Make It Real Creative!": The Mystery Box

and-make-it-real-creative-logo-3By Trent Rentsch

I’d like to make a confession. It’s been nearly 13 years and there are still unopened boxes. My move from South Dakota to North Carolina, while not rash, was a fast transition. Hard choices were made, lifetime treasures landed in the garbage bin (I still mourn the loss of the 45’s I had collected since childhood), others were awarded what little space my car afforded, and those that I could neither bear to part with nor cram in my bulging trunk, ended up in boxes to be stored in my parent’s home until I could retrieve them.

Time passed. There were many trips back to South Dakota, but by plane only. My Mother would often remind me about those boxes “gathering dust” (read: taking up space) in their spare bedroom. I assured her I would get back with a vehicle, sometime. As time passed, she grew more insistent, wondering what month “sometime” landed in. Being the faithful son I am, I laughed right along, and proceeded to forget them as soon as I was back in NC.

The phone call finally came after 2 years and 5 months. “I’m shipping those boxes to you,” my Mother said in a tone mixed with anger and relief.

“Oh, the boxes? Don’t do that… I was still coming to get them…”

I felt the icy stare through the phone. “Nope. It’s time. I’m shipping them.”

I thanked her, feebly explaining how sorry I was, but knowing this was just another way I had disappointed her. Still and all, it would blow over by the holidays, there would still be chocolate-covered cherries for Christmas… and besides, I was finally going to get that stuff back. Yeah… all… that… stuff?

In the days that followed, try as I might, I couldn’t for the life of me think of what I might have packed in those boxes. As I mentioned before, I had been rather cold and heartless about my possessions before I left South Dakota… surely those items were important enough to be saved from the dumpster! They were not, as it turns out, important enough to remember, and by the time they arrived, the mystery was becoming maddening.

At this point in the story, you’re probably thinking I tore into the packages, shouting with glee as I rediscovered these forgotten trinkets of my life before Raleigh, that I had been moved to tears by nostalgia and immediately insisted that room be made for these golden, irreplaceable mementos! On the other hand, you have probably been paying attention and know how things really went down, and you’d be right… I immediately found a place to store them until I had a “few moments” to study the contents. That was… sigh… over a decade ago. Just to confirm the accuracy of this column, I checked tonight… yep, they’re still sitting there, unopened.

I’d like to give you a definite answer why. Busy, lazy… or just plain terrified at what I might find? Who knows? I don’t. But what I do know is, the time is coming. The tape will be ripped away, I’ll dig deep, and I will rediscover… something.

Funny how things get buried and forgotten. There was a time when singing was as much a part of my day as breathing, when picking up my guitar and playing was as every day as tying my shoes. Then, somewhere along the way I just quit them both. I suppose there were still moments, but I did nothing with my singing or playing for a very long time. Then the day came a year or so ago when we were working on a jingle idea for a client at Krash, and I played with the idea of doing the singing myself. It took a long time and endless over-dubs, but I managed to pull it off and the client was happy. Since then I’ve done a few more, and my voice is slowly returning to where it once was, but more importantly in my mind is the joy I’ve rediscovered in rekindling that Creative side of me once more. Since then, the guitar has come out of moth balls too, and bit by bit, I am re-training my fingers to do what they must to make real music. It’s not easy, but it is fulfilling, and I hope to get to the point where my real world playing is strong enough to add to the electronic music I’ve been producing on the computer.

It’s not about adding skills to my Creative portfolio, although that is a welcome benefit. It’s more about cracking open doors long since shut, and finding the Creative joy that was lost. As a working Creative, it’s easy to get in a rut. After all, we’re often asked to “Create” the same thing, over and over… the faces change, but the work really doesn’t. When the process becomes stifling, a great way to break through is to go back to what brought us Creative joy in the first place… even if it has nothing to do with our current Creative responsibilities, it will re-ignite the spark and give you a fresh perspective.

Writing, painting, drumming, acting… no matter where you are now, there might be a hidden Creative desire you’ve boxed up and hidden away. Maybe today would be a good day to give yourself a gift and open that box.

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