By Trent Rentsch
It could be the giant acorn, but the air is different in Raleigh. Breathing in its atmosphere for the last week, I’m again reminded of the things that make the place so special. There’s the graceful dignity of its people—that calm, pleasant way they carry themselves, even in the most stressful situations. The English language takes on a softer tone in North Carolina. The rough edges are rounded; the harsh stereotypical “You betchas” of my native South Dakota are replaced by the lyrical “Y’alls.” The Arts and Sports are equally embraced in the Raleigh area with a quiet pride and fierce determination to strive for the best of all worlds. Its founders would be amazed by the growth and development of the region, particularly in the Research Triangle, where the business of today is creating a better future, not only for Raleigh/Durham, but for the world. Those founders would be equally gratified to find a healthy respect and preservation of the past where it all began… history is revered and well cared for there.
As you may have noticed, I’ve fallen in love with the place since falling in love with a wonderful woman who lives there. In the near future Raleigh will become my permanent home, but for now, it’s an almost mystical destination for me several days each month. It’s a place of love and laughter and relaxation—an escape for the sameness that comes from spending most of one’s life within a hundred mile radius. It is one of the many precious gifts my fiancée has given me, and I thank her for it. I needed it more than I realized.
Sameness destroys the Creative Soul. While routine and specific process are vital to those engaged in more linear endeavors, Creative Souls demand a steady diet of new experiences, unimagined thoughts, and even a little emotional chaos if they are to flourish, to survive. It is a truth too often forgotten or ignored.
The Radio Creative in particular is held captive by the day to day. Forced by deadlines and workload to practically live in a cell-sized production room, the Creative eternally attempts to whip up new and exciting 30 and 60 second bits of magic. When there are no more rabbits to pull from the hat, it’s time to escape the prison.
While getting away from it all is a wonderful way to recharge (and I could safely recommend Raleigh, NC as a destination), traveling may not be feasible (it’s also possible that RDU may be the home of your own sameness). There are other ways to take a trip and never leave the farm.
Find the restaurant section in the Yellow Pages. Close your eyes and go eat wherever your finger lands. Ignore the movie listings; pick a number from 1 to 14 and see the flick playing on that screen. Try to take a different way to work every day for a week, either route and/or mode of transportation. Drop by the cubicle of that salesperson you generally avoid, and ask them what they did over the week-end. Use something from that conversation in your next piece of copy. Do… something, just make it completely different and new; experience what you never have before.
I do not know one person whose life is not a juggling act these days. What’s important for Creatives to remember is that throwing a Paisley-painted tennis shoe into the routine with those drab juggling balls life keeps you tossing at you will not disturb the pattern. Rather, it will make everything fresh, more interesting… SAMENESS suddenly becomes DIFFERENT!
Take the time, even just a little each day, and force your world to grow a little. You’ll discover that the magic is endless, and that there are more than rabbits in that hat. Look at me! I discovered that there’s at least one city in this country that drops a giant acorn at midnight every New Years Eve. How could I imagine that in South Dakota?