By Ellen Joy Johnson | Posted 4/9/09 | Updated 8/14/22
When I was a child I remember hearing the story of Rumpelstiltskin, a fairy tale written by the Brothers Grimm. The gist of the story is that a young girl is forced to spin straw into gold for a king because of her bragging father.
Of course she cannot, but a small man, perhaps a gnome like character, tells her he will spin the straw if she gives him first a necklace, then her ring and finally her first born child. The young girl marries the King because of her supposed special talent, becomes a Queen, and eventually gets out of the situation of having to give up her first born by guessing the small man's name. And so the story goes.
I started thinking about "turning straw into gold" and what that means as a creative person. Often we feel as though we are working with straw or we have nothing to offer in our creative lives. That could symbolize a lack of ideas, tools, resources, or even emotional straw. So how do we spin our "straw" or creative energy into gold?
The spinning of the wheel in the story is fascinating. The symbolism of the wheel turning all night long, just as a potter spins the wheel or even a writer types a manuscript deep into the evening, indicates a tireless dedication to the creation. Rumpelstiltskin spins and toils all night long, relentlessly, because he wants the reward that he will receive. A reward or perhaps call it the motivation or inspiration to create bringing either emotional satisfaction, recognition, monetary reward, spiritual growth or whatever stimulates a person to be creative and deliver the goods.
So in order to "make the gold" we have to be inspired, have craft and do the work. Whether you are a visual artist, musician, dancer, writer, or entrepreneur you must know how to do your craft well enough to know how to spin the wheel, so to speak. Creativity is first inspired, then developed and finally earned. We cannot just have the desire to create something without the commitment to take all the necessary steps to complete the task. It is a daily routine that is cultivated through a process of showing up and being engaged.
Clearly it is in completing the task that we receive the reward. A reward that we find meaningful enough to sit in a room all night and spin our "gold" until the first rays of sunlight remind us of our exhilaration. So if this year you have the inspiration to be creative, in whatever medium, set an inspired goal for yourself and start spinning your own straw into gold!
©2009 Ellen Joy Johnson. All rights reserved.
Ellen Joy Johnson has been inspiring people for many years to express their dreams. ...