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Lyne Marshall : Understanding the Gift of Creativity.

Understanding the Gift of Creativity

By Lyne Marshall

Always on the lookout for triggers to creativity, I find one insight leads to many. Recently I was alerted to a book, first printed in the 1970's, by author Lewis Hyde called The Gift. A search found it on Amazon, and this book confirmed something that I had discovered previously but not always been able to articulate. The ability to paint, write, act, sing, etc., is a gift that should not be denied or taken for granted. But it is more than that. While we all need to make a living, and receiving money for our gifts is necessary and desirable, if we lose sight of what we have and can give to others, our gift will shrivel up and become gaunt and mean.

Before money became so necessary, communities survived by giving gifts. They were given with love, and returned in the form of other useful things, with the same feeling. The need to have a more altruistic reason for creating is the gift part of what we do. To aim for this benchmark when creating, rather than the commercial result, will ultimately fulfill both needs anyway, but the outcome will be far superior.

To find that selfless reason for creating requires some soul searching. During my university art training, I was directed away from what my heart was saying. This may have been necessary to break me from a rigid mould, but until I found myself again, I was lost for many years. Constant searching for answers finally paid off and I found my purpose, but it is still an ongoing journey. Life is exciting when you are always on the lookout for the gems amongst the rubble.

However there are times when the need to paint, perform, write, etc., are overshadowed by other's needs and we feel pressured to meet their expectations. But true growth and satisfaction will only come from reaching out to the new and untried, and being dissatisfied with some output is part of the process. Keeping foremost the gift part of what we do will allow us to touch our audience, who can tell when something is authentic. It can reduce them to tears because it touches their hearts as only gifts do. •

© Lyne Marshall 2007

Lyne MarshallLyne Marshall is an Australian artist, and the author/ illustrator of Gleaner or Gladiator: The Struggle to Create. More »