Chronic Creativity

Another indicator of Chronic Creativity is the innate ability of the subject to perform the surgical procedure called the problemplasty on a regular basis. Of course, the term problemplasty is a word that I have made up. However, I think that the word explains itself very well, which is why I have chosen to use it.

Perhaps you have heard of the words angioplasty or rhinoplasty. A plasty is the reconstruction of something through surgical means. If a person truly has CC, he or she will not be intimidated by problems. Rather, he or she will simply reconstruct or repair the problems. Problems call for creative solutions. Problems are obstacle that must be hurdled over. We face them every day and come up with creative solutions without thinking too much about it.

For instance, one morning my husband woke up to make our morning coffee only to discover that I forgot to buy some at the store the day before. He was presented with a problem: no coffee, bad way to start the day. He remembered that we had some coffee beans in the freezer. No problem! Right? Then he discovered that we didn't have a coffee grinder to grind the beans in. Creative solution: put them in the blender. But wait! There wasn't a lid for the blender. No problem! He stuck a plate on the top of the blender to keep the ground beans from flying all over the kitchen. Without realizing it, he was faced with three problems and came up with three solutions in a very short period of time.

It happens to all of us.

The Collegiate Dictionary defines a problem as a question raised for inquiry, consideration, or solution. It can also be an intricate unsettled question. We need questions before we can have a solution.

One of the most famous questions considered in history was "Can man fly?" This question at one time could only be answered with," No, man cannot fly. He is too heavy and is not equipped with wings." Thus, a solution had to be performed. The Wright brothers reconstructed this problem and were able to invent the airplane. (Keep in mind that the Wright brothers were powerless to change the natural laws of gravity or the species of mankind. However, they were able to invent a product that overcompensated for these problems.)

There are certain laws, especially natural laws that cannot be changed or controlled such as climate or the genetic composition of a living organism. So many inventions and ideas have to work around these natural laws. For instance, the person that invented the rake had no control over the fact that in autumn, leaves fall. However, he could provide a solution for the leaves in his yard by inventing the rake. Likewise, the person that invented the tampon must have recognized the menstrual cycle as a nuisance that could not be changed but could become a little less messy. You get the idea.

Think of how many inventions have been made throughout history. Virtually, someone has invented everything you set your eyes upon that is not a part of nature. It is fascinating to look around and ask yourself, "What potential problem was this particular item a solution to?" The fan was created as a solution to the heat. The bookshelf was created as a solution to disorganized books. Eyeglasses were invented as a solution to the problem of poor eyesight. Take, for instance, the items on my desk alone. For one, there is a computer. I ask myself, "What problem preceded the inventing of it?" My computer contains a word processing program that makes it easy for me to type, edit, and store important data. Again, I ask myself, "Why was a word processing program invented? What was the main problem that was trying to be overcome?" My wrists have a gel pad to rest on while I type on the computer keyboard. I happen to know this invention as a solution to carpal tunnel syndrome. The list goes on and on. Practically everything manmade is a solution to some sort of problem. Problems play a fascinating role in the advancement of today's world.

Within this past year, I invented my first product as a solution to a problem. You see, recently I have become involved in the process of stage design at my church (and loving it!) The purpose of the stage design is to communicate visually a particular theme. With the theme changing every several weeks, so must the stage design. During the first stage design, the only area that I had to work with visually was the walls in the back of the stage. It was a difficult process to produce big enough photos for the congregation to view. The process was costly, time consuming, required many hands, and the photos were difficult to view in the end. As a solution to these problems, I invented a stage design photo prop called, "The Vi-Cube". Essentially, I thought of a way that photos could be changed more readily, easily, cost effectively, and viewed more easily. Were it not for my original stage design difficulties, I would not have had any inkling to invent a better alternative.

The beauty of problems is that they can precede a solution in any aspect of life. This component of creativity is not just for painting a pretty picture or composing a beautiful song. Again, Chronic Creativity is a mindset that cannot be easily shut off. It can be applied to engineering, to relationships, and to society as a whole.

On a sociological level, I find it interesting that tragedies often pull people together. For instance, take the horrific problem of 9/11/01. The common denominator of what people have been saying all across America has been, "We have come together more closely as families and as a nation." One of the solutions that we as America came up with in response to the problem of 9/11 was to appreciate our families more and to re-prioritize our lives. Another solution that we came up with was to constantly be in a "state of alertness" and to "watch out for our neighbor". In such a previously individualistic society, this has been good for us as Americans.

There have been many other times that I have seen people pull together as communities when tragedy strikes. You can see it on the news as hurricanes hit, earthquakes rattle, fires blaze, and tornadoes strike. People generally pull together. Somehow, someway, they are able to get past the problem and are able to pull together with a creative solution to help one another.

In addition, organizations have been created to deal with and help overcome problems such as world hunger, homelessness, and the lack of medical care and supplies. Great advances have been made towards combating current diseases such as AIDS and cancer.

Creative solutions have the potential to change our cities, our nation, and our world. There are creative solutions to crime and poverty. There are creative solutions to war and divorces. There are creative solutions to health care and education. CREATIVITY ISN'T JUST ABOUT ART! (Anyone with CC certainly understands this.) It's about bringing creativity into everything, everywhere, and all the time. It's about redeeming whatever possible and changing what you can.

The attitude toward problems is equally a vital component to Chronic Creativity. The classic CC response to a problem might be, "Hmmm… here is a problem... what can I do to help? What sort of solution can be offered to this obstacle?" Then, I can assure you that the person with CC will begin contemplating the various solutions available until the right solution comes up. Of course, if you have CC and want to be rid of the condition, then start to sit around and complain about every problem that comes your way. Gripe, moan, cry, and blame others for it. That is a sure way to be rid of CC right away!

If you WANT to be infected with Chronic Creativity, take this next shot:

Shot #2: Perform Problemplasties

Reconstruct the problems around you. Find solutions. Realize that there are things that you cannot change and things that you can. Your attitude toward problems is certainly something that you CAN change!

This excerpt is from Chronic Creativity: A Diagnostic Look at the Condition and How to Become Infected ©2001 Angela K. Mack. All rights reserved.

Angela K. MackAngie Mack Reilly is a musical director, performing artist, blues educator and writer who has a wealth of experience and connections in the arts and entertainment industry. More