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Outside the lines - Matt Beckenham

The writing bug is a big deal for me. Although it has taken me a while to get comfortable with the idea of being an author, I love that writing has opened up a space of wonder and exploration. Creativity is a bigger word now. It's become an invitation into something bigger than myself.

How I write is such an important part of the process. I don't write with an end goal; I write to explore. I don't even have a plot. This has given me scope to find things I had not thought of before. It's given me the ability to be spontaneous. It's allowed me to follow a thought. Its in the exploring that I have discovered the importance of freedom in the creative process.

But then again, what does it even mean not to have that freedom? I was created with that freedom. Why do I think otherwise? I gave it up when I realized I lived according to someone else's expectations, beliefs, or thoughts. I stuck to the boxes I was given and colored between the lines someone else had drawn for me. That was me in religion.

Religion has well-defined boxes and lines... and often demands blind obedience. Whether we understand it or not, I did as I was told. But here's an odd thing: To do as I'm told can be easier than being creative. It stopped me from thinking, and if I didn't have to think, I would just trust what was given to me. But that stopped me from asking questions. That shut down my curiosity. It made me a parrot for other people's understanding. It limited my creativity by the bounds of others'.

At the heart of creativity is the belief that something new can happen. Something can be made that is beyond our perceived ability and knowledge. Creative people are designed to live in the hope of what can be rather than recycling what has been. By looking at what has been, they can look for what could be.

Three Floods is a story of what has been but seen through a lens of what could be. It's the curious, explorative retelling of a famous story. It gave me a place of wonder for a time and a culture I could only make educated guesses about. The story, alone, has been called all different kinds of things. From a myth, a fairytale, a parable, a historical event, to name a few. But at the heart of it is God dealing with the breakdown of society and His relationship with those He created.

Whatever version of the story you believe, it's the message it carries that means something to me. And the "meaning something to me" is where I get the chance to be creative. For me, the character of the Designer is what is unchangeable, but the story can be interpreted. It's the story I get to play and engage with. It's where I can close my eyes and imagine myself on an ark. Everything else fades away when my imagination is given permission to discover what I have not seen before. To hear what I have not heard before and to feel what I have not felt before. It is there that I am being the creative I was designed to be.

So, let's create. Let's find what we have not seen before and express it in a way you have not done before.


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