The beauty of Calgary, Alberta is that it’s weather embraces the knowledge that nothing is static. Our weather report can change literally from one hour to the next. Big, burly, intimidating clouds can roll in bringing an ominous mood and the next thing you know they’ve disappeared. Bracing yourself for the threat that they bring, only for those clouds to pass you by. Last week we were trapped in a heat wave. As a Calgarian, I personally do not fare too well in the plus thirties (Celsius). I get cranky, irritable and the last thing I want to do is write. I have to force myself to write and what dribbles onto the page is nothing but complaints about how sweaty and uncomfortable I am. Today, I am lucky that the heat wave has broken and brought us below seasonal temperatures. It has been raining on and off all day and I have basked in the creativity it brought me.
I am not alone in this. There is scientific proof, I recently found out, that cloudy, rainy days entice creativity. Currently, I am reading Imagine: How Creativity Works by Jonah Lehrer. In this book he mentions an experiment (and the page number escapes me) where people remembered four times as many objects while standing around a grocery store when the sky was overcast and they were playing melancholy music. It is almost as if depression causes a person to get in touch with their surroundings and therefore remember more details (always a welcome thing when writing). After a week of sunshine and heat, I am taking advantage of my melancholy surroundings, I’ve lit a candle and I am writing to you. It feels great. I love that I can wear a sweater, curl up with a blanket, listen to Death Cab for Cutie and let the muse show his or herself.
Another experiment mentioned in that book was using background noise. I cannot find the part in the book where I read about that one either and I am starting to wonder if I am making this up! Coffee shops are conducive to creativity because there is just the right amount of decibel from the whirring of the coffee machines and background conversation. It is no wonder I gravitate to this setting whenever I set out to write and feel like I’m in need of some inspiration.
Therefore, take advantage of a rainy day this summer, grab a latte and allow the imagination to take over.