What, exactly, is creativity?

For many, it’s a synonym for pure imagination. It isn’t enough to make things; they have to be things no one has thought of or made before. If it’s not brand new, then it’s not creative.

I think that sells people short.

As the old saying goes, there’s nothing new under the sun.

Everything we have is built from other ideas. We recombine. We build on the ideas of those who have gone before us, or on the ideas we had ourselves last week. We see what others have done, and we take those things farther, into unexplored territory.

Unexplored, not never-existed-until-now new. The seeds of the new idea were contained in the old one, back into the dawn of time.

Thinking of creation as the act of making something entirely new has the effect of making most people feel like they aren’t creative. It relegates “creativity” to the realm of the “gifted few” and not something most people can approach.

I think that nothing is farther from the truth.

Almost all of us are creators. We create things, every minute of every day. We create friendships. We create meals. We create safe spaces to live in. We create homes, and clothing, and gardens. We create jokes, and quilts, and music.

We create messes, and problems, and enemies, too. We create wars, and famines, and systems of government that oppress people.

We can’t help it. Wherever we go, we create things all around us. Very few of us manage to simply eat, sleep, and exist in places that others have created, never making anything of our own, not even relationships.

We create our own environment, and then we create stories about what we have created, and why.

It’s just the way we are.

Image attributions; my original art, sky photographed long ago, lightbulb made and rendered using MODO just this morning.

The Lighter Side – Crayons!

Life isn’t always serious. 😀

Remember the smell of a new box of crayons? The delicious promise? All the colors, ranked in their unbroken glory, with crisp paper wrappers still unsmudged? It was pure delight!

I remember looking at them, all those lovely, pristine points, deciding which would be the very first to make its mark! It was an honor, being first. I didn’t want to hurt the feelings of the others. But only one could have that coveted position. So I picked.

Remember the wondrous feel of that first silky line across the paper? The thrill of pure, unsullied color. Later, it would be contaminated, as all the shades it touched left their trace. But that first stroke was magic; unadulterated perfection.

More colors would join that one, as I created a picture where there had been only blankness. It’s that act of creation, of making something out of nothing, that’s always been so appealing.

It was then.

It is now.

As I used them, the crayons would start to age, their points worn down until they looked like horse’s hoofs. I’d carefully peel away the paper, and use the Crayon Sharpener that the swooping arrows pointed to on the back of the box.

I liked my crayons nice and sharp.

But I would need colors that weren’t in the box; not even the big box of 120. So I’d scrub one color over another, mixing them on the page to get when I needed. I’d use my finger, or a kleenex, to blend colors, smudging one into another.

I’d work that box, until all that was left were stubs, grubby paper on short ends that fell sideways into the gaps left by their missing fellows.

I would work them until they were gone.

Until nothing was left but a pile of glorious pictures.


Picture Attribution: Crayons I made using MODO.