Creativity at the Auto Show

Since I was old enough to think and walk on my own, I made annual pilgrimages to the Jacob K. Javitz Center for the New York International Auto show. Each year I looked forward to going, not because of the cars, rather the amazing designs and concepts. I would spend hours basking in the creativity and innovation which culminated under the (now) infamous glass roof. The excitement it would bring me was equivalent to a normal child entering the gates of Willy Wonka’s Factory.

After the recession that all changed. Automakers were faced with budget cuts and reorganization strategies. Many of the cars produced after the recession focused on necessity rather than creativity and cool. During that time the auto show still went on but with much less excitement and barely any innovation. When it became obvious I could find the same cars in a grocery store parking lot, I stopped going.

Lately I’ve been in a writing slump. With my novel at a standstill, I needed something to motivate me back to writing. I couldn’t have asked for better timing, so last weekend I went back to the Javitz Center for the 2017 New York International Auto Show.

What a disaster!

Walking through the doors, I instantly regretted my decision! While I did see some interesting cars back on display, I couldn’t help but notice cars were not the main focus of the auto show, rather their technology. Wi-Fi, cameras, automated systems, infotainment consoles…if it was able to be crammed into a dashboard, it was on display. But, that wasn’t the only change to the show.

Like many things that used to be fun for adults (bars being the thankful holdout), the auto show is now a place for child entertainment. While great for parents (which I am proudly not), the car enthusiasts have been forgotten. Those actually interested in the vehicles must now stand by and watch children jump around them like playground attractions.

I managed to stay a little over an hour which was an hour longer than I would typically spend anywhere children are running rampant. It was just enough time to feel like I received my discounted ticket’s worth, then I went to brunch. I toasted the auto shows of the past, where the creativity thrived; it was evident that this tradition was no longer for me.

However, my twenty-block walk to brunch provided a moment of clarity.

Similar to my experience with the auto show, lately it seems I’ve lost interest in my novel journey. It seems my creativity has left. Over the past few weeks I’ve made plenty of excuses as to why, but can’t seem to correct course. As a result, I’ve once again fallen into a trap where I move my novel to the back burner. This most likely is due to feeling like my writing isn’t progressing (catch twenty-two anyone?).

The best advice I found came from a quote by Joan Didion which I found in a writing magazine;

“The most important and hardest thing for any writer to learn is the discipline of sitting down and writing, even when you have to spend three days writing bad stuff before the fourth day, when you write something better. If you’ve been away from what you’ve been working on even for a day and a half, you have to put in those three days of bad writing to get to the fourth, or you lose the thread, you lose the rhythm. When you are a young writer, those three days are so unpleasant that you tend to think, ‘I’ll go away until the mood strikes me.’ Well, you’re out of the mood because you’re not sitting there, because you haven’t had that period of trying to push through till the fourth day when the rhythm comes.”

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