Wednesday, June 1, 2022

Mystery Castle's Freedom of Creativity

Castles represent our dreams and our imaginations, and so Mystery Castle is aptly named. This house at the base of South Mountain was built by Boyce Gully when he responded to his terminal illness diagnosis by moving to Arizona. He built the house with his daughter, Mary Lou, in mind, and after he died she came and lived in it for the rest of her life. 

South Mountain has never been my favorite section of the greater Phoenix area. The landscape is very scrubby, with both dirt and rock having not so much color as you'll find in other areas. It's all quite pale. And yet it's this scrubby paleness that makes Mystery Castle seem to fit so well into the surrounding scape. If the inspiration behind the house was sand castles, then this is indeed a desert sand castle, formed up out of the desert sand. 

The castle just closed for the summer, but beginning in October the tours will begin again. The tour in itself makes visiting the castle a fun and quirky experience. Your story is honestly admitted to be part fact and part fiction. You hear a bit about the history and the construction, but you also hear silly jokes and puns and tangents. 

Frank Lloyd Flight instead of Frank Lloyd Wright

And of course along the way you get to observe the inside and outside of the structure. There are so many details in the materials and the art that you could spend hours just taking it all in. The rocks here, the tile there, the painted snake in this spot, the pun written here, the prayer written there. Something of this style, something of that. Art from this culture, art from that. 

What you end up walking away with, besides the hour of diversion, is inspiration to be free. Mystery Castle is creativity run loose without any rules and without trying to please anyone. That's what makes it captivating. So that in turn becomes inspiring for all the little things we might do in our daily lives, whether making art, decorating our homes, planting a garden, or getting dressed. Adding in a little creativity brings an element of play into the everyday.

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