Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things.
Creativity requires the courage to let go of certainties.
“I love fantasy. I love horror. I love musicals. Whatever doesn’t really happen in life is what I’m interested in. As a way of commenting on everything that does happen in life, because ultimately the only thing I’m really interested in is people.”
Yesterday I attended my book club meeting. We’re reading Women Who Run With the Wolves: Myths and stories of the Wild Woman Archetype. When I was thinking of what to write this week, I wanted to write about creativity, but my thoughts were all a jumble. I had no clear idea what I thought about creativity. Then after our discussion, everything snapped into place.
The creative person is a Wild Woman, or Wild Man. There’s a fire in their belly and they must tell their fire story or die. They’re not conventional. They’re often misunderstood. But, we need their message, because their story reflects the culture from which they come. It reflects human experience. Clarissa Pinkola Estés says that stories help us along our inner journey. They can lessen fear, they can help us cut through the crap, and they can help us regain the damaged parts of ourself.
There are as many fire stories as there are people to tell them. The story need not be in written words. It can be in visual art, dance, theatre, music, a finely made quilt, a beautiful garden, a home decorated in a way that invites you in, that opens up conversation. We connect to the stories that speak to some longing within ourselves. If we let them in, the stories can help us heal.
Of course, there are dark stories of destruction of a human soul. I’ve never been attracted to those kinds of stories, but I’m not going to say they don’t help us heal. Maybe those stories provide the wake-up call needed by a segment of the population. After all, we can’t heal if we don’t venture into the dark places of our psyche.
I’m going to close this week’s post with another quote from Joss Whedon. These were his last comments about Firefly fans at the 10th anniversary Reunion panel at Comic Con 2012. I use this quote, because I believe what he describes, happens to us when we allow ourselves to be affected by a piece of art.
“When you come out of a great movie, you feel like you’re in that world.… When you’re telling a story you’re trying to connect to people in a particular way. It’s not just about what you want to say, it’s about inviting them into a world. And the way in which you guys have inhabited this world, this universe, have made you part of it, part of the story. You are living in Firefly. When I see you guys, I don’t think the show is off the air, I don’t think there’s a show. I think that’s what the world is like. I think there are space ships. I think there’re horses. I think it’s going on in all of us. The Story is alive.”
What stories attract you? Look at the archetypes of the characters in those stories. Which archetypes speak to you? Those are clues to your inner life, the fire within your belly.