Friday, January 8, 2010

A Definition: Creativity

Student Andrew Manning has recently created for my Apprenticeship Writing Workshop a nice definition of Creativity, which I post below.

I created my own definition using the same model, Sojourner Truth's "An't I a Woman?" See my piece and the assignment details here.

It is certain that in today’s fallen world creativity is greatly admired. It is generally celebrated in the artwork of modern artists who grab any passing thought and put it on canvas. They are considered “creative” for their splashes of paint and bold strokes of the brush which politely skip over meaning and evoke emotional responses from the viewers. But is that the essence of creativity?

Some say that creativity is free, easy, and merry; that it soars through the clear skies with nothing to clasp it and bring it down. They say that it touches ideas and then dances on with as much reliability as the wind. I’ve tried to integrate these ideas into my own artwork. I’ve tried to chase after my own fantasies. I’ve tried to abandon reality completely. I’ve tried to become enveloped with giddy illusions. I expected a change in my works and assuredly it did come, but I find no real beauty in them now. All I find is confused ideas, so unclear and distant that they are not even distinguishable from one another. And am I not creative?

Others say that creativity is “getting in touch” with one’s inner self, and unleashing it. We all possess a fantastically creative side but it is found within the deep recesses of one’s being. I have searched. Nearly every possible aspect of my soul have I brought into the light and examined. When confronted with a blank piece of paper I have closed my eyes and sat in the quiet, seeking, searching, probing within. I did not find it. And am I not creative?

Still others say creativity encompasses not only the good, but also the evil, the unproductive and oft destructive. They view dark and morbid intent as a subject of creativity, a thing to dwell in and be moved by. The good, the right, the true; they are forsaken for the pursuit of the wicked, the disparaging, and even the indolent. I also have dipped my fingers in that foul water to test it. What I felt was not the cool refreshing creativity as they called it, but a vile mere that tried to suck me in. I withdrew my hand. And am I not creative?

Even after surfing the wave of fantasies and dreams, and “getting in touch” with my inner self, and languidly waiting for creativity to show up at my door, I found it eluded me. So then, what is creativity and where does it hide? But first: why does creativity exist at all? Is not all our creativity a reflection of God’s creation which he made to be perfectly ordered, and perfectly good? Did not God give us our creativity? True creativity is found in Christ, the original creator, not in any other. Because our inconsequential creative efforts exist only as reflections of Christ’s perfect creativity, we can be creative only if we rightly create as he did: in truth, in beauty, and in goodness.

---Andrew Manning
---Grade 10

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