Wednesday, May 20, 2009

But I'm not Creative...

I was having coffee with a friend this weekend, and we were casually talking about my previous week’s events (which, truth be told, included A Lot of sewing), and she mentioned that she didn’t have any creative activities.

No Creativity?
No creative activities? I asked. What do you mean? What about all the photos you have taken throughout the past several years? And the slide shows set to music that you’ve created out of them? Those are certainly creative.

She offhandedly agreed, but mentioned that she hasn’t taken many pictures lately.
Ah Hah! I thought. Therein lies the tricky thing about creativity--it takes time to cultivate.

We All Have It
Because let me say first off that everyone is creative. Seriously--I mean it. Everyone. You can’t live among the vibrancy of human culture, and the beauty of nature, and survive the wonders of childhood without a little creativity working its way into your bones. And though it is true that we commonly associate creativity with the arts (and with crafts), it flourishes in other places, too. Like creative problem solving, business development, and cooking. There are a lot of “creative intellectuals” out there who are very crafty with their ideas. And civil engineers who are creative with their urban landscapes. And even creative policy makers who conjure up out-of-the-box ways to generate municipal income.

So clearly creativity abounds. But it also takes some tending. My friend probably had overlooked her genuine skills with a camera (she is who I always recruit to take photos at my events) because she hadn’t used them in awhile. And she probably hadn’t used them in awhile because the demands of adult life (full time work, social activities, chores, etc. etc.) had dominated her schedule.

Full Circle
And this point brings me full circle--back to the first Recessionista post I wrote about creativity. Which is that utility can tyrannize our lives. Give it an inch, and it will take a mile, no questions asked. Clothed in a sense of urgency (some of it real, like “I need to pay my bills NOW!,” and some false, like “I better organize my pantry before my mother-in-law comes and sees it!”), we get sucked into believing that all of our time must be spent on very important things like work and chores and extra-curricular activities. And our creativity goes by the wayside. And though others may consider this a permissible casualty of real life, particularly during a recession, I find it unacceptable.

Unacceptable because it is the creative things that fill up our tanks so that we have enough energy to do all those other unpleasant utilitarian tasks. This recession, in case you haven’t heard, isn’t expected to disappear by autumn. Or next year. Or perhaps even the year after that. We are probably in it for a marathon rather than a sprint. And personally I don’t want to run out of gas halfway through.

Get (Back) To It
And so I’m encouraging my friend to dust off her camera for the summer, and I know that she will. And I’ll keep sewing and knitting and writing. And you can keep doing whatever it is that you like to do. Or perhaps start doing it again.

And even though Recessionistas will wrap up for a time, I'm keeping the Creative Hour in place throughout the summer.
So you can continue to expect to see photos of projects on a weekly basis, and I will continue to invite you to share about your creative efforts.

Previous Related Posts:
Express Yourself: Entrepreneurism as an Accessory
The Creative Hour

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