Present Tense

You are creative….period.

Are you creative?  I used to be. In fact, I spent a lot of my life fancying myself as a “creative type”.  I gravitated toward the humanities and possessed little interest or aptitude in math and science.  I’m sure somewhere along the way, a teacher told my parents that I was creative or something and it kind of stuck.

In my teens and 20s, as I was trying to figure out who I was, I deduced that since I liked to sing, write and drink  I was “creative”!  I now know after researching  my genealogy, that I’m not really creative; I’m Welsh.  I would describe myself as quirky, curious and irreverent, rather than “creative” in the artsy, traditional sense.

The upside of convincing other people that you’re “creative”, “artistic” or a “free spirit” is that there’s a distinct possibility  that you’ll be forgiven a multitude of sins.    Lazy, broke, late, unfocused, messy, blunt, unreliable, drunk; all are forgiven for those who convince others that they are so full of fabulous, lofty ideas that they can barely dress themselves.

Here’s my point.  Everyone is creative because we’re humans.  We adapt, we innovate, we re-think, we re-do, we are never satisfied and thus, we create.  Culturally, we seem to only prize and foster creativity in the arts, which is short-sighted.  The arts are great; they fill our soul, they inspire, soothe and uplift, but what about the creativity of that has made it possible for me to write and post this on the World Wide Web?

What about the doctors who saved Congressman Gabrielle Giffords’ life, after a bullet crashed through her head?  It was creativity that launched the space program.  The idea of the “mad scientist” is actually a nod to creativity.  We don’t look at Einstein as merely a physicist, we admire his ability to think outside of the boundaries of known science and I have no idea whether he could sing or paint or dance.

I read a post on Facebook from an old high school friend, who works with troubled kids and he wrote about finding ways to connect with them that might be different from “the manual”.  He’s faced with that challenge everyday and he and his staff shift on the fly to find out what sings to each kid.  Creativity.

I watched Rick, the stone mason we hired, begin with a pickax, shovel and wheelbarrow and within days, build and create a beautiful flagstone walkway that transformed the once ugly entrance to our house.  He dealt with the drainage, the materials, the design, the problems and my husband’s constant  ‘supervision’.  Creativity.

We admire, celebrate and almost worship, those in the arts for their contributions and it sends the wrong message to kids.  Think about the stuff in your life that REALLY enhances your existence on earth; maybe you do live for art, but for most of us, Henry Ford’s contributions, outweigh Picasso’s.  I’m not belittling the arts, but few of us will ever really swim in that ocean.  But, we can creatively parent, cook, troubleshoot, manage, think, contribute, invent, love and grow.

April 2, 2011 - Posted by | Musings | , , , ,

9 Comments »

  1. I too, am creative. However, I have grown to become a critical thinker and someone who believes change is good. If I had the ambition I would probably study Six Sigma, just to find out why. I used to write poetry when I was in college (the women liked it) and I even thought about getting more involved in the arts. I guess my rational side took control and lead me down a more conservative path. Not that you can’t be creative and conservative at the same time. It is somewhat of an oxymoron (sp?). So my point of this post is I agree with everything you said Jane. Everyone is creative in that they should be able to think for themselves. We as individuals should never stop asking why because there will always be an answer. Take care.

    Comment by Don | April 2, 2011 | Reply

  2. I have never looked at creativity in that light. I really appreciate the new perspective!

    Comment by Shell Hanselman | April 2, 2011 | Reply

  3. I believe that there is creativity that can be learned, and that which comes from the desire to change or improve on something.Much like using only a small percentage of our brain capacity.Many of us are content to just follow along. Most creative people seem to be looking for answers to problems or situations either simple or complex.

    Comment by Tim | April 2, 2011 | Reply

  4. The picture in my head of the “supervision” may not be creative but it is humorous. Did the puppies help supervise too?! Anyone who has watched “Modern Marvels” or some such show knows that creativity is not just about the arts. But being Welsh, you are in good company with creative types like Catherine Zeta-Jones, Richard Burton, etc.

    Comment by Jessi | April 3, 2011 | Reply

  5. As always, you are right on the money! I watch TED videos a great deal and all I can ever think when I see the AMAZING scientific creations is….WHO THINKS OF THIS STUFF? Some creative genius in the back room of a think tank no doubt.

    Comment by kandis | April 3, 2011 | Reply

  6. Creativity for me is accepting that you don’t have an ultimate solution but will tirelessly try to find it – whatever your passion, your medium or your art.

    Comment by justifieddesign | April 3, 2011 | Reply

  7. Great perspective, Jane…appreciate it and the new way to consider what “creativity” truly means. Love it.

    Comment by Francesca Amari-Sajtar | April 4, 2011 | Reply

  8. You are Brilliant!! I work in a Creative field as you know, but nothing compares to everyday life and using those abilities in all walks of life!! I try to do this everyday!!

    Comment by Marge Beem | April 5, 2011 | Reply

  9. Love your blog and the picture is sooooooo very cute.

    When I was in my teens, I wrote short stories and poems. My classmates didn’t waste time asking for my help with their “homework”. But then I took a secretarial course and that was the end of my creative writing. My creativity sunk in the secretarial quagmire of structured business letters and has remained there for the past 30 years. Arggghhhhhh! But you know what, now that I’ve read your blog, I think next time I go to the Dollarama store,I’m going to loiter in the art section and allow myself to pick up a few odds and ends to fool around with and maybe even a colourful copy book to write in and see where that leads me. Time to shake things up and add a little fun in my life. Thanks for the kick in the pants.

    Comment by DJ | May 27, 2011 | Reply


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