1.15.2007

thoughts on creativity...

I have been in a low-grade lull. Not a downer, as the hippies would call it. Not a wilderness season, as the charismatics might say. Just a slight tip in the trajectory like one might feel when a plane goes from thirty thousand feed to twenty nine.

You probably wouldn't notice it. Kelsey did, though...and after some conversation we both realized we need to get excercise that goes beyond the one handed, 17lb baby lift. That will help...but that's not it in entirety.

I believe it also has something to do with creativity. Zack recently wrote about his desire to be great. Mine is a little like that, although more than I want to be great, I want to be creative. Not "that painting matches the couch" creative, but Holy Freaking Cow, Who Would Have Thought of Doing That creative. My assumption is it would involve writing, but who knows - maybe my assumption is wrong. I don't want to be so tied to a medium that I miss the one good idea God may have wired me for. I don't want to type. I want to create.

Via Guy Kawasaki's blog, I ran across an essay by Hugh MacLeod entitled "How to Be Creative." MacLeod is a hypercreative who draws and writes here. He is known for cartooning on business cards...the backs, not the fronts. He also makes some genius remarks about creativity in an essay he wrote for Change This, a site dedicated to New Media and clever dissemination of thoughts.

MacLeod's essay, simply entiteld "How to Be Creative" is a 49 page magazine style missive about what it takes to make ideas flow. It is insightful, funny and sometimes counterintuitive. He also uses some of the words we don't say in our house, so let that be your warning. If you're interested, you can download the entire .pdf here.

I will quote a few abbreviated thoughts that resonated with me, either because I'm already doing them or feel the challenge to adopt them. Again, these are from Hugh MacLeod's essay "How to Be Creative":
  • Ignore everybody. The more original your idea is, the less good advice other people will be able to give you.
  • Good ideas alter the power balance in relationships. That is why good ideas are always initially resisted. Good ideas come with a heavy burden, which is why so few people have them. So few people can handle it.
  • Everyone is born creative; everyone is given a box of crayons in kindergarten. Then when you hit puberty they take the crayons away and replace them with books on algebra. Being suddenly hit years later with the creative bug is just a wee voice telling you"I'd like my crayons back, please."....your wee voice doesn't want you to sell something. Your wee voice wants you to make something. There's a big difference...the wee voice didn't show up because it decided you need more money or need to hang out with movie stars. Your wee voice came back because your soul somehow depends on it.
I'm committing to exploring this creativity within. I want to make something. It may or may not make sense, but it will be making something, and making something is inherently more interesting than worrying about making sense.

12 comments:

Tracie Loux said...

Recommended Reading:
"Walking on Water: Reflections on Fatih and Art"
by Madeleine L'engle

"Since its publication, Walking on Water has called thousands of readers to the tastks of the artist: to listen, to remain aware, and to respond to creation by creating. With honest and insightful glimpses into her life as an artist and a Christian, Madeleine L'Engle eloquently explores the mysterious relationship between art and faith."

Randy Bohlender said...

hmmm...perhaps if one's friend owned a copy, they could borrow it? Hypothetically speaking, of course.

Tracie Loux said...

One's friend does own a copy, if one's friend could find the BOX in which said book resides, one would happily loan out the book!

Shelley Paulson said...

Another recommended reading is "The Artist's Way" by Julia Cameron. It's like a 12 step program for creatives. She says, like you, that everyone is creative. We are made in the image of a Creator.

Better yet, get a group together and go through it like "Creatives Anonymous".

But seriously, it might hit the spot for you.

Randy Bohlender said...

Wow. More reading. I need to find these books. All I was thinking about doing was welding something bizarre or building a flame thrower....

Ronni said...

I loved the Artist's way... awesome book.

I've since begun painting and I've written a number of songs since I've been... "freed"...

I pray that God gives you the dreams and daydreams you need to find your direction!

What always inspires me... take a class in something you'd NEVER do... like glassblowing or pottery... even just a day drop in class at a local college. It stretches you and makes you use muscles you didn't know you had!

Gayle C said...

Welding something? Hypothetically, one could borrow a cousin's welder should such an urge strike.

Josh Motlong said...

Mmm, I too, have done the Artist's Way. It's good. It's weird. U can borrow if you want.

I think we should get together and cause some mischief - which was once said to some friends and I, and my buddy Justin swore the girl was saying "call some midgets"; the girl was offended and left - we were left on the ground laughing.

Tracie Loux said...

We have "the Artist Way" too...John has read it, I have not....
and Walking on Water has been found!

Kelsey Bohlender said...

There are seasons when we have the freedom to draw on white paper. Then there are times we are called to color in a book that another man has drawn. Some people are content coloring in coloring books their whole lives. It is safe and smart - they were created to do so. Others are destined to be the owners of drawing boards.

I am praying that God gives you some white paper very soon!

Tracie Loux said...

You have an amazing wife, sir!

Tom Mills said...

Sorry to be so late in reading this excellent post. After more than a quarter century in an institutional church, I WANT MY CRAYONS BACK!

And that last paragraph?
I'm committing to exploring this creativity within. I want to make something. It may or may not make sense, but it will be making something, and making something is inherently more interesting than worrying about making sense.

The Man crowd would be proud of you!