Question Creativity

A few posts back (Endless Chains) I came up with a list of questions that no one answered. Some said they were too hard. I decided to see if I could answer them and if that might spark discussions. It was tempting to scroll through the list and pick what interested me but that seemed rather like cheating. So here’s question #2, which I didn’t want to answer.

What form does your creativity take?

The easy answer is writing, obviously. And handcrafts. I love to crochet doilies (and am always asked, ‘isn’t that something old ladies do?’), make bobbin lace, struggle with spinning, and so forth.

Making bobbin lace; image from wikimedia commons

Making bobbin lace; image from wikimedia commons

The harder answer is that I actually don’t understand creativity. Why can’t we pick and choose what form it takes? If we could I would draw. Or at least have an eye for color and design, which I suck at.

Why do we need creativity? How did it evolve? I imagine things started out as survival skills. Spinning to create warm clothes. Writing and painting to create communication. Most likely, when survival became less emergent, those skills stuck around because a few people realized they enjoyed the tasks.

But let’s think about writing, or story telling. That’s been around since the beginning of time. I don’t know that it had much to do with survival other than maybe scaring little kids around the fire so they wouldn’t stray. I think it had more to do with keeping oral history alive. But whatever the reason, why did we, back in the beginning of time, have that desire to tell a story? To use imagination to create a fictional account that did nothing but entertain? There must be some deep-seated genetic reason that we feel the need to create and I’d love to know why.

Back to the question though. Writing is clearly my form of creativity. It’s something that eases my soul, makes me happy, allows me to move through the day and breathe. Whatever it is in our brains that requires us to need some form of creativity in our lives, I’m glad my brain chose writing. Because I really do suck at color. And cooking. And singing. For that matter, I was always terrible playing a musical instrument, too, even though I love music. I have no creativity where dance is concerned, either.

Hmmm. The more I think about it the more I feel lucky to have at least a few things I can claim as creativity.

So what is creativity to you and what form does yours take?

8 thoughts on “Question Creativity

  1. I think the very act of creation is built into the very web of life at a very deep and fundamental level because everything must be birthed and later die. The very nature of life at essence is creativity. If it didn’t re-create and adapt and evolve then it would end… As to my own creativity, writing and singing are my main outlets, although I love to make cards and crochet things, and I used to dance a lot as a child but that’s faded. I too notice how vitally important creativity is to my well being and I think it’s something that needs to be brought more fully back into education…but that’s another post:-) Thanks for sharing this thought provoking piece. Blessings, H xxx

    • Oh, your comments here make me want to go sit out under the trees and ponder them. Especially the line about the very nature of life at essence is creativity. Very profound. Why do you think dancing faded for you? Ever feel the urge to try again? And I agree, creativity in education is sadly lacking.

  2. Creativity I believe is in built so that in cave man times and even through evolution and other species, we had to create to survive- create tools to get food (monkeys and apes have been shown to do this) and weapons to protect from predators and then as human beings developed creating became a way to channel emotions. Personally I believe there would be a lot more people with depression if we didn’t have creative outlets. I’m still experimenting with different things and my current thing is learning to sew, but so far I’ve tried (and enjoyed)- pencil drawing, painting, charcoal drawings, watercolours, pastel drawings, writing- fiction, non fiction, poems, journaling a mixture of words and drawings, card making, cross stitching, singing, dancing. Whether I’m any good at them is a different matter but I still do them all. The only thing I’ve tried and given up completely was playing guitar- my fingers didn’t stretch enough to be able to do the chords. Interesting post and question, it’s really made me think 🙂

    • I never thought about the connection between creativity and depression but as I think about it now after reading your comment, I recognize that. I know, personally, how grumpy I get when I don’t have time to write. It’s interesting that creating started out as a way to survive and then became a way to channel emotions. It makes sense. And you know, I don’t think being good at a creative endeavor is as important as finding one we enjoy. I’m impressed with your list! I’d forgotten embroidery; I’ve done that in the past, too. And a friend has offered to teach me to knit. As one who is used to a single crochet hook I have a feeling two knitting needles may lead to injuries, but I’m willing to give it a try. Great comments here.

  3. I didn’t know you create with textiles as well! There’s a textile museum in Berkeley and once I saw some bobbin lace in-progress there — I was completely blown away.

    I suspect storytelling comes from the same place as our need for religious and spiritual traditions. Life is scary, uncertain, and confusing; it helps to have some sense to make of it, either in big (these are our deities) or small ways (this is an explanation for what happened to me today). That’s a little reductionist but sometimes I really think all I’m doing with all my art is just trying to figure out why I’m here and what to do with myself.

    As for what form my creativity takes, I’m not even sure I can make a bounded list. 😉 Let’s see… writing, drawing, painting, arranging things in the home, cooking, throwing parties, tending to my appearance, organizing events and projects (like the writing prompts)… and occasionally singing and voiceover-y stuff, I guess, now that my wrists won’t let me play the piano.

    • Wow, I knew about the painting and writing, but you seem to overflow with creativity! I think you’re right though, that creativity comes from a desire to make sense of life. I like that better than it coming from a desire to control, which someone commented to me verbally. Their comment was that people fear the unknown and strive to control what they fear, which is where creativity comes from.

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