Tuesday, April 15, 2008

What Does It Take To Be Creative?

I could have an art studio supplied with all the finest paints and canvasses and goos and gewgaws that my heart could dream of, and still be stuck in the arid desert of non-creation.

Of course, now that I have left most of my art supplies in storage in Brooklyn, and don't even have a corner dedicated to creating, I like to think that "if only" I had a space, I could then be so creative it would be like a was being put through a muse powered juice machine. All that lovely liquid gold gushing out of me and onto the page.

Eh. Not true. It's a fantasy that I think we all have, that if circumstances were somehow different, THEN we could really be creative and our true selves would shine through. If we didn't have these toddlers hanging onto our legs demanding attention and sticky jelly sandwiches. If only we didn't have that full time job that we need to pay the bills. If only we had that MFA that would certify we were indeed artists. If only our friends/family/life/past wouldn't get in our way, we could be something better.

There's the fallacy, because we already are the "something better." We already are our true selves. We aren't failures because we don't take the paintbrush out. We aren't losers because we aren't sitting down to work on that novel that has been languishing in our laptop for YEARS. We are just living our lives. (And by "we" I mean, "me.")

Now, perhaps the thing that is getting in our way of unleashed creativity is the "if only" fantasy.

There is no "if only," there is only today and the choice we make to write or paint or craft or whatever it is that is our hearts desire. Yeesh. Hearts desire. What a scary thing to go for. The fantasy of it is less frightening than the reality.

The fantasy of what it would take is easier than the reality of making the time in a busy day for the things we really want.

In truth, creativity comes from a mind-set, not Mount Olympus on high.

Creativity is about looking at what you have, and seeing what you can do with it-- whether that is a few blocks of wood that would like to become a house, or a few minutes between when the kids go down for a nap and when dinner must be started.

Creativity is looking at a problem, and coming up with the way to solve it. So, maybe I've got no where to paint, so I toss a few pens in a bag and get a small sketchbook, and make the world my art studio.

I suppose the key to being creative is taking our native creativity and applying it, not just to the canvas or the page or the knitting needle, but also to our very lives.

Speaking of, I think it's time for me to stop procrastinating and start facing the novel which is scaring me. And soon. Before the kids wake up.

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