Sunday, October 3, 2010

52CP 39: Imagination and 52CP40: Creativity

I've been wanting to do this double post for several weeks now, but "life" keeps happening and, if you've been following this blog recently, you know that other things have preempted planned posts and been replaced by other ones...

Back in 52CP35 where we discussed creative problem-solving, it triggered a few thoughts on creativity in general, and I've been wanting to do a double post to get us back on track with the actual weeks in the year, so when we hit the final challenge, it will actually be a true #52! Since I consider imagination and creativity to be pretty compatible bedfellows, it followed fairly easily to combine the two for a double post.

Back in July 2009, I wrote a post on my other blog about imagination and play. It was triggered by a video clip from Oprah's visit to a second-grade class at the Yearning for Zion polygamist ranch (the one that was raided and over 400 children removed). You can watch the clip HERE. This video reduced me to tears, and this is what I wrote on my other blog:

...not because the subject matter was particularly sad, but because the overall effect is tragic! Several things came to mind, but the overriding tragedy is that these children do not get to use their imagination AT ALL! They've never even heard of Cinderella or the Little Mermaid or Humpty Dumpty or Shrek, let alone pretended to be one of these characters! They claim that work is fun, and they never play ("it's not fun", claimed one little boy), and the very meaning of the word 'play' {in their society} is synonymous with 'goofing off'!

Why do I consider this tragic - beyond the obvious these-children-are-missing-their-childhood scenario? Because the underlying tenet - that everything they do serves the purpose of becoming like God - is self-contradicting, for starters. If, in fact, there is a God, and if, in fact, He is perfect, would he not have a perfect imagination? Didn't He (or She or They or whatever) dream up flowers and clouds and hummingbirds and the platypus and all the rest of it? If these people are aspiring to become gods themselves, won't they need imagination when they start creating their own "worlds without end"?

Every single thing you see around you - NO exceptions - was a thought before it was a thing, whether in man's mind or God's. Have you ever, ever in your entire life created something with no thought behind it? With no imagining the end result? Yes, things evolve in the making, and the finished product may turn out different from the original thought, but the original thought at the very least initiated the making!

Einstein - brilliant man that he was - referred to imagination as "a preview of coming attractions". It just pulls at my heartstrings to see this entire generation of children growing up without a preview, and with no concept of play!

Moving on to the creativity aspect of things, my thoughts went to all the people I've heard in my life lamenting, "I wish I could (fill in with some artsy endeavor here) - I don't have a creative bone in my body." I would propose that unless they are a gelatinous mass with no bones whatsoever, that they are also big, fat, floppin' liars!

The problem - as I see it - is that somewhere along the line, "creative" became synonymous with "artistic", and - admittedly - not everyone is artistic. Let's define creative properly, though (from Merriam-Webster):
  1. Marked by the ability or power to create: given to creating
  2. Having the quality of something created rather than imitated
  3. Managed so as to get around legal or conventional limits
Synonyms include: clever, imaginative, ingenious, innovative, inventive, original.

I didn't see anything in the definition that precluded originality outside of the arts, did you? Mathematicians do creative things with numbers, accountants have been known to get creative with dollars (especially at tax time), engineers come up with creative solutions to the problem at hand - be it electrical, mechanical, what have you!

My mother was the most creative mother I know! She managed to keep five children not only occupied, but engaged, and made memories for us that I will always treasure! (I'm actually one of six, but since I was 16 when my baby brother was born, my "childhood" was essentially over by then. Hmmm...come to think of it, producing that baby brother was a pretty creative act, too...)

Creative cooks are very much in the forefront - Rachel Ray, Paula Deen and others - and there is evidence all around us in the everyday conveniences we enjoy of someone's creativity! Computers, appliances, transportation - all came about because someone approached a need creatively. My point is that creativity extends to ALL areas of our lives!

Look around your little corner of the world and identify where your strengths lie. Odds are incredibly high that you use creativity every day without identifying that that is what you are doing. I hereby issue you a "cease and desist" order if you've been complaining about your lack of creativity up 'til now! Identify where you are creative and celebrate it!

Edited Monday morning to add: I just got an email from alerting me to this new book: Creative is a Verb: If You're Alive, You're Creative by Patti Digh Serendipity, yes?

This picture is of a "project in progress". It includes both challenges ("dream" for the imagination challenge, and "create" for the creativity challenge), but is nowhere close to being done. These panels still need embellishing and attaching to the actual project before I can say "it's done", but I have ZERO idea when that will actually be accomplished, since this is as far as I've gotten in four or five weeks of delay and re-gear and all. I promise my most excellent promise that I will post the final product when that time comes, though!

For your project this week, you can do something for each challenge or combine the two - the choice is yours! Here's Mr. Linky:

1 comment:

Beverly Gotthardt said...

Even though I haven't played every week, you know that general living stuff, I have been watching and I appreciate it when I do play that you always feature my cards. Thanks for all the hard work you put in to give us a place to play and find inspiration.