• Shelly Blake

The Idea Bus

Updated: Feb 11

Don't look back. Just go ahead. Give ideas away. Under every idea there's a new idea waiting to be born." Diana Vreeland

Listening to stories can be very inspiring. We all look at life in different ways and collect mental images that can be used to express art, poetry, stories or to invent new things. Everything starts with an idea. At a time when people are being encouraged to social distance, it is refreshing to draw closer to people in the larger community through the sharing of stories and ideas.

Find a Creative Spark

Listening to the creative stories of Colombian artist, Catalina Estrada, reminded me how important it is to share your ideas with the community. She leads community gatherings and helps children to create images from the words of their poems which later are transferred onto scarves. This is a great way to strengthen people by building spiritual and physical connections with the larger community. Sharing our stories and expressing creativity brings beauty and meaning to a world that could easily tear us apart if we only focused on negative issues.

This art class came at a time I desperately needed a creative spark to get me going again after experiencing my share of life losses. Hearing her inspiring stories has created some mental images and revived my creative spark.

The words of Bruce Springsteen’s song, Dancing in the Dark, keep floating through my head, “You can’t start a fire worrying about your little world falling apart... You can’t start a fire without a spark.

Take a ride on the Idea Bus.

I am surprised how a bus inspired me!

The bright and bold colors decorating the Chivas, community buses of Columbia, are a breath of fresh air compared to the local buses in the US. I had my share of interesting experiences riding the public bus: making new friends, meeting a few creepers (one who pushed me out the door!) and even missing the bus created a few memories: riding a bike in winter and walking several miles home in the dark on the side of the highway! Thank God for buses. They really are a vital part of the community and could even be a life saver.

Entertaining all the memories, being inspired by the Chivas and being preoccupied with losing my own home created this imaginary bus with a purpose.

Imagine a bus that has been decorated by the local community. Local artists have joined together to create meaningful, bold and beautiful images - it's graffiti at it's finest, street art on a moving object, scenes of nature and completely original creations straight from the imagination. The theme is unity, not division and vulgarity. This is a bus that generates change by giving back to the community.

When you climb aboard you not only get a ride to where you’re going, but your donation feeds and houses the homeless population in your city. Local musicians, artists and storytellers ride along for story hour (a sober version of happy hour) to share their gifts with the community. Some guy with a saxophone blesses the riders and those within earshot of the open windows with a melody that pierces the air with comforting tones, a breath of fresh air for a weary world.

A well-known Christian who often sings gospel while walking through the library will be on board on Sunday. Maybe you've been disillusioned by the whole church experience, but when you ride the bus, listening to his heartfelt expressions of his love for God, it doesn't seem to matter anymore. Who says you can't worship God on the bus?

Storytellers will be on the Idea Bus all week. Native American elders have wisdom to share, African Americans will bring black history to life for you, a comedian will climb aboard to stir up a little joy, a photographer is going to inspire you to take some creative pictures and an animal therapist will share her bundle of joy with the community.

Wouldn’t it be great to see the community pulling together to house the homeless in such a creative way? Call me a dreamer (thank you!), but whatever you do ride the Idea Bus to find a creative solution to life's many problems. Please share if you enjoyed this!

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