“The people we walk by every day have untold talents, passions that beat in their chest like a witch doctor’s drum.” ~ Pam Grout, Art and Soul Reloaded
“Art, freedom and creativity will change society faster than politics.” ~ Victor Pinchuck
“It’s impossible to explain creativity. It’s like asking a bird, ‘How do you fly?’ You just do.” ~ Eric Jerome Dickey
“Creativity involves breaking out of established patterns in order to look at things in a different way.” ~ Edward de Bono
“In my experience, poor people are the world’s greatest entrepreneurs. Every day, they must innovate in order to survive. They remain poor because they do not have the opportunities to turn their creativity into sustainable income.” ~ Muhammad Yunus
Creativity is something I feel like I harp on a lot. It’s kind of a theme of my life, so, in a way, maybe that’s not a bad thing. We all have a kind of life theme that we share with those we come into contact with.
Creativity came into my consciousness again which started me thinking about the struggles I’ve had to balance my creative urge with making a living. it’s not so bad now that I’m semi-retired, but when I was young there were so many forces urging me to find a career that would pay good money so I could live the American dream. But when I took a job because I needed the money, it was soul killing. And I don’t want anyone else to have to experience that, so maybe that’s why I harp on finding ways to be creative.
When I was offered the job, I had a sickening sinking feeling in my gut. I knew I shouldn’t take it. But I was fresh out of college, married, and living with my grandparents. So, I took the job not trusting that a better one would come along. It had only been two or three months, but Barry and I needed to be out on our own. When I started working, it was great to be self-sufficient, but I groaned every morning knowing that I was going into that toxic environment for another day. Yet, I learned a great deal from going against my inner guidance. And the biggest thing I learned was never to do that again.
I know I’m not the only person who struggles to balance working and having time to devote to things I’m passionate about. Many of my former students are friends on social media, and they share similar struggles I had when I was in my twenties. I guess it’s a universal challenge. I’m inspired by the people who follow their passions in spite of the need to earn money. For the most part, they see the world in positive ways. And it seems to be that when they contribute their good energy and their work, we all benefit from what they create.
Some people would say that I’m a dreamer when I say that I would love it if our society became more like the one in Star Trek, where people have a basic income, and are encouraged to develop their interests and talents. In that society, money exists, it’s there, but no one needs it to survive. Living like that would be so fantastic.
Maybe we are moving in that direction at least in terms of encouraging creativity. You’ve probably seen the ads for master classes in photography, or film directing, or writing, or acting. Last summer I took a free class about Alfred Hitchcock and his movies offered by Turner Classic Movies and Ball State University. It was a fun class, and I learned a lot about movie making in general, and his style specifically. Those kinds of opportunities are out there on all kinds of subjects. All we have to do is take advantage of them.
As you may know, my husband and I are doing the year long course offered by Pam Grout as part of her book, Art and Soul Reloaded. One of the things about this course I love is that at the end of each lesson, Pam has a section she calls “You’re in Good Company”. It’s a little snippet about some person’s struggle to make their dreams come true. Here are some examples: “Every cartoon Charles Schulz, the creator of the wildly popular Peanuts comic strip, submitted to his high school yearbook was unanimously rejected.” Or, “Donald Sutherland has made more than 100 films, but he still gets so nervous, he throws up before filming begins.” Or, “Lady Gaga, whose hits have topped charts in nearly every category, got dropped by Def Jam Recordings a short three months after they signed her.” Or, “Actor Ryan Reynolds, once chosen as People magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive, said, ‘I feel like an overweight, pimply faced kid a lot of the time.” Or, “In the early ‘90s, George Clooney was being considered for the lead role in the homicide drama Bodies of Evidence. The CBS executive cast him instead as sidekick Ryan Walker after deciding Clooney was ‘just not leading man material.’”
But this is one of my favorite exercises in the entire books so far. “Important Creativity Test: Get out a pencil. Are you breathing? Yes _______ No _______, Check your score here. If you answered ‘yes’ to the above question, you’re highly creative.” The entire book is filled with those little encouragements. She wants us all to find our particular passion and nurture it in any way we can.
This week’s lesson is titled “Art Diviners”. In this chapter her point of view is that everyone we meet has something they are deeply passionate about and want to create, and we need to be aware of that fact. I love that idea. There is so much more to people than we can see on the surface. Just look at all of the innovative ideas people are coming up with to solve various problems we’re facing. Maybe you don’t see those on social media, but I do, and every time I read one of those stories it makes me hopeful that more and more people are not letting anything hold back their creative impulses. It might be difficult, they are probably scared, but they follow their passion anyway.
That’s one thing I love about teaching. I get to encourage my student’s creativity. And as Yoda says to Luke in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, “We are what they grow beyond.” We’re all teachers in one way or another. I find it comforting to know that little by little the world is becoming a more friendly place to live in because of what we’ve learned from the generations that have gone before, and that we’ll all leave something behind that generations after us can build upon.
Thanks for reading. I appreciate your likes and comments.
Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2017
Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards. It’s a historical, time-travel, magical realism, women’s novel, and is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords, and print-on-demand at Amazon and other fine book sellers. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.