Creativity Lesson From the Bike (again)

The middle of the road is a little darker than the sides. The middle is the part that gets the oil and gas from accelerating and braking. If you ride a bike, it’s called the grease strip. You don’t want to spend a lot of time there.

douglascountyroadA lane on a road can be divided into the right side (by the curb or breakdown lane), the middle (the grease strip) or the left side (by the stripe). A motorcycle can easily fit into one of these thirds.

If you ride on the grease strip (the middle of the road), you have more places to maneuver, but you have a higher chance of skidding when you stop. Same thing when you are working on a creative project. The middle of the road is familiar, and you can get through the problems of your work, but it’s also the one that is filled with the danger of skidding away from making meaning. Look closely at where you are working–is it the place filled with starts and stops you’ve done before? If so, move out of that project and into something that’s not filled with a history you already know.

If you are riding on the left, it’s hard for a driver to squeeze you off the road by passing you and then moving over too soon. It’s also easy for you to get blasted when a car coming toward you is driving close to the stripe in the road. On a creative project, you want to protect yourself from getting blasted by other people and their project. Meaning making is a personal, private thing, not a competition.

If you are on the right side of the road, it’s easy for people to pass you, but it’s also very dangerous, as there is a big space where you don’t show up in their right-side mirror, and they can push you off the road. On a creative project, you don’t want to stake your meaning and existence on others who are rushing past. Establish yourself firmly in your plan and take up a lot of space in your studio. Making meaning is about you and your creativity. That takes up the whole creative path.

(c) Quinn McDonald, 2007. All rights reserved. To see all of Quinn’s work, visit Image courtesy