What’s Your Secret Genius?
Yesterday I was sitting on the little step that separates the two parts of my garden,
listening to birds, the breeze and aeroplanes droning like some exotic, far away mechanised beetles of the soundscape.
I watched the Cabbage White butterflies dancing
and generally appreciated the community of wonderfulness in which I live.
It’s so nice to stop and find a few gifted moments to look around you and to truly REALISE the world that glides merrily around your own life.
Kind of like a spinning wheel, where you are the clay vessel being sculpted by it all.
And sitting on the step, I started thinking about the people here and how no one is exactly, normal.
By normal, I mean one dimensional.
Take the Hair Shack on the esplanade. When I think of that place I see shimmering glass, orchids in jars in the window, organic beauty amongst industrial scaffolding interiors.
And you don’t just have normal hair dressers working there. You have people as deep as the ocean itself, who – when they aren’t nurturing people’s roots and colour – are clothing designers, embroidered jewellery makers, desert-flower lovers and vision board makers.
Take a little stroll down that road and you come to the sea front, where I was parked a few days ago. I was just about to set off when the local estate agent/beloved comedian wandered past with a bunch of keys. He leaned into my open window to tell me some random story of a cat who died, which led onto talking about a couple who poured cement down some poor person’s drain because they didn’t want them to open a pottery in the village.
I drove away shaking my head in disbelief, only to pass
the life guard in his hut,
gazing anciently out to sea,
(a life guard who doubles up as a Yogi and a public toilet maintainer
and who offered Adam some lunar wisdom about the full moon and it’s silver pathway across the ocean to France on the Tuesday just gone.)
Dylan Thomas would have had a field day here.
It makes Under Milkwood look dull!
And sitting here in my garden looking at the wild jungle that it is,
I wonder what would happen if I put an ad in the local paper for a gardener.
Imagine what sort of genius loon would arrive!
“Hi!” she’d declare,
sweeping off her huge sunhat and taking a bow.
“My name is Agapanthus Sycamore!”
(Or probably something like that).
And then she’d sail into the garden like some green fingered Nanny McFee and trim, prune, alter and rearrange.
She’d landscape and snip with the love of a mother tending her babies.
Nothing would be killed … even the reckless brambles and delinquent bindweed that’s intent on strangling all of the other plants, would be tenderly removed – root and all – and taken to some wonderful home for reprobate botanicals.
But because in this place that I inhabit,
it would appear that no vocation exists without some additional underlying genius,
it would turn out that Agapanthus Sycamore – rogue gardener and feral landscapist – is also a secret marriage celebrant.
This means that as she gardens,
she also acts as a bridge between the love affair of plant and mineral.
The relationship of root and soil …
… of cloud and sea and rainwater.
Wherever her fingers touch, a marriage of sorts is created and so the whole of this garden would become an oxytocin bubble bath of love stories that are entwined in the branches, laced through the grass roots and embroidered between every living thing.
How wonderfully, beautiful would that be?
I’m almost tempted to put that advert in the paper and see if Agapanthus arrives now.
I don’t really believe it is just this little place on the Isle of Wight, that hoards people with multiple layers of genius.
I feel such people are everywhere
- including those who occasionally pop into this blog and have a read of whatever I’ve managed to get posted.
What wild genius sits beneath your 9-5 vocation?
Do you let this genius out into your world?
Is it filtered into your work, your home, your friendships, your playtime?
If you haven’t yet discovered your secret genius, I have a nice little creative process that may tease it out from wherever it has been hiding.
Set aside an hour of luxurious genius-discovery time.
Maybe take yourself to some neutral territory; a café or coffee shop. Once settled there, write a description of yourself as you would a literary character, in the third person. Describe your looks, your attitudes, your perceptions. Make them as colourful and as unusual as you can.
Try to draw a portrait of yourself, filling in the telling details with the eyes of an artist.
Now give this portrait of yourself a secret genius vocation. If you can’t think of something you already have tucked away up your sleeve, simply make that thing up. Allow yourself to explore what the character of “you” might do, if he or she was given the freedom to imagine a new version of herself.
And if you DO know what your secret genius is, please let it come out and express itself in your life.
There is magic in creativity and what things we LOVE can bring to this world.
Right now, the world needs some good magic – people with good hearts, allowing their absolute greatness to colour this chapter of history.
Please, let’s use everything we have.