Creative Air

A few weeks ago, I checked the online catalogue for this library, and found a book on my reading list, so I placed a hold on the novel. Although the book was supposed to be on the shelf, the librarians never set it aside for me, so I checked the shelves myself and didn’t find it. I asked about the book. They looked it up and discovered that although they were supposed to have two copies, they had none. Apparently, right before I moved here, the books disappeared.

They ordered the book from another library for me, and since that copy never showed up, it got me thinking. Suppose someone is out there removing all copies of this book? It certainly would make an interesting story, and who knows, someday I might even try to develop the plot. An obvious conundrum to figure out would be if the book is disappearing everywhere or just in this vicinity. Another one would be what the book thieves are looking for or trying to accomplish.

There must be creative air circulating around me, because not only did I come up with an idea for a book, but I also got a yen for cooking. Normally, if I get a rotisserie chicken, I throw away the bones and skin because chemicals and heavy metals like lead can settle in the bones, but the chicken I got today was enormous, and it seemed wasteful tossing out what in olden days would have been turned into a nutritious broth, so I went ahead and made a soup stock from all that waste. Another reason I don’t bother with making broth isn’t so much the question of health but that I’m not particularly fond of soup. But you never know — the creative air might descend another day and give me an idea for using the broth.

I also chopped up peanuts to mix in with a creamy peanut butter. I can’t find a natural crunchy peanut butter without sugar, so I made my own. Sort of.

And I fixed a meal that took an inordinate number of pots and pans, dishes and cans. It might have been creative, that meal, but it wasn’t all that tasty despite the benefits of chili powder and cumin and garlic and onion.

It’s funny, though, that this creativity air would descend right before I go back to a regular schedule at work. For the past couple of months, I’ve been more or less on call, just working sporadically because of quarantines and such, and now I will be working more days than I don’t. It’s as if my brain is scurrying around, thinking of all it could have done the past couple of months with so much free time, and suddenly, it wants to do two months of creative thinking in one day.

Or maybe my brain thinks this is the perfect time for a jolt of creativity because it knows I can’t feel guilty about not following through if I am otherwise engaged.

Not that I would feel guilty. I am mostly just going with the flow. Tomorrow the flow will be whatever it will be, but today the flow was through a creative air.


Pat Bertram is the author of intriguing fiction and insightful works of grief.