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Naomi Rose : Creativity Isn't Just About Having Good Ideas

Creativity Isn't Just About Having Good Ideas

Creating is what happens when you pay attention to who lives inside you

By Naomi Rose

Creativity often seems to be viewed as the ability to come up with a lot of out-of-the-box ideas ~ a brainstorm of ingenuity, a mental agility. And while it can include this, of course, creativity is so much more than this. It is, at its essence, a soul-thing. And since this is so, everyone has the capacity to open to and cultivate it, if they are called to.

But like many realities of our deep nature, this can be invisible to people about themselves, and it also can be invisible to a larger culture ~ such as our own. And the effects and side-effects of this neglect can be far-reaching, even if we are not consciously aware of it.

For example: When I was an art student in high school (a high school for students of music and art), we had a substitute teacher come in one day. An imposing man in a fading tweed jacket with a quick wit and a quicker tendency to dismiss, he stood at the blackboard with a piece of chalk in his hand.

"How would you suggest chalk, in a painting?" he demanded.

The class was soon atwitter with raised and waving hands.

"White paint, scumbled over to look rough," called out one boy.

"Acrylic paint with sand mixed in!"

"Black crayon on white paper, scraped off to let the white show through!"

The substitute teacher nodded his head, as if to acknowledge all those creative tries. Then, for some reason, he looked straight at me. "What about you?" he asked.

"Me?" My mind was a total blank. If there had been any ideas in there, they were quickly routed out by my fear of the teacher's booming voice. I froze and tried my best to disappear. But as I was in plain sight, that didn't seem to be working.

"Yes," he drawled. "How would you suggest the look of chalk?"

I took a breath, hoping for inspiration. When none came, I offered, "How about using ~ chalk?" It wasn't a creative answer, but it made total sense to me.

But he shook his head back and forth, back and forth. "And you call yourself an artist!" he said witheringly, and turned to someone else.

Well, no, I didn't ~ not after that, not for some time. Thanks to that experience and others I encountered along the way, I came to believe that creativity had to do with coming up with ideas, with unexpected ways to do things ~ the less obvious, the better. And though over the years I became able to train myself to think more in that way, it always seemed a superimposition ~ an effort that taxed my counter-efforts to simply be at home with myself.

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