On Creativity

I’ve been thinking a lot about art and creativity recently. I’ve always been on the artsy side of things and yet never considered myself an artist until the last couple of years, when a friend called me an artist. I feel very honoured someone would think of me in that way, because I adore art and admire artists. They make the world so interesting and beautiful. Now that I look at Miriam Webster’s Definition, “a person who creates art (such as painting, sculpture, music, or writing) using conscious skill and creative imagination”, I see that I most certainly am an artist and I’m prepared to settle into that title like relaxing into a comfy couch.img_2099

I grew up drawing, writing, singing, and acting. We used to put on plays for the kids in our neighborhood, selling cookies wrapped in tinfoil, because even as children we knew there needed to be a concession. I won two competitions in elementary school, one for art and one for story writing. I illustrated another child’s story the first time I won. When I won the next year, I wrote and illustrated my own story. The teacher provided us with prompts. I chose to write about a fictional monster called the Purple Tingle Tangle. (I googled this and it’s a flavour of ice cream. 🙂 ) I typed it on my dad’s old typewriter from college. My mother helped make a cover for it by gluing pink chenille fabric over two pieces of cardboard. The prize for winning was a trip to a convention center on a Saturday in downtown Detroit, where kids from all over the city converged to be creative, play games, and have fun. I also started writing poetry and performed my first solo at church during this same time period. Throughout my junior high, high school, and college years, I acted in various drama productions and sang in numerous choirs and ensembles. I also sang solos in church and at weddings andimg_2097 funerals. In high school, I was invited to sing and play my guitar for a Christmas special on a local cable television station. I started writing songs in high school, as well, and would share them with anyone who’d listen.

Looking back now, I see that my creative endeavors almost disappeared at the onset of young adulthood. Of course, when we arrive at this point we’re expected to know what we’re going to do with our lives, but really it’s not about that at all, because a life is so much bigger than what a person has to do to acquire the basic necessities of food, clothing, and shelter. I’ve never wanted to be defined or limited by what I do to “make a living”. I recall having zero guidance from my parents on the direction I should take and I couldn’t have been more wrong in what I chose. Instead of reflecting on what I loved to do and was passionate about and where my natural giftedness lie and searching out what kind of work might utilize some of these strengths and skills, I took a career test. I believe there’s some merit in these, but at the time, I didn’t know myself and, if there were indications from the results of that test that a career in the arts should be pursued, I’d heard one too many discouraging words about how the arts don’t pay. Instead of developing my art and chasing my dreams, I chose the security of a trade school education. You can read about that here. I always said I took a img_2098wrong turn, one of the reasons I’m encouraging my daughter to run off to musical theatre school. I’m grateful that my artsy self didn’t wither up and die in the busyness of work, starting a family, and making a home, but persistently knocked on the door of my psyche until I answered. In truth, I’m happiest and most fulfilled when I’m creating.

For me, that’s the goal; to create authentically with all my strength. It’s my passion and compulsion, something I believe was laid on my heart by the Creator of all things. It follows, being made in His image that we would be bound to do as He does. This spectacular world is so varied and rich and He invites us to join Him. It’s our highest calling to create beauty, light, and wonder.img_2100

Creativity is a process and a practice. It’s the laser focusing of one’s being and imagination, the colourful tumbling of one’s mind and emotions, the work of eyes, ears, voices, hands and feet, whole bodies, the conjuring of that unique entity which wasn’t there before, and the thrusting it into existence. It’s an exploring, a learning, a growing, a birthing, an expression in that moment of pure self.

It’s a pause from the practical and a dabbling in the whimsical. A playing that brings on strong emotions like surprise, delight, laughter, curiosity, reflection, and, of all things, meaning. Where would we be without art, literature, music, dance, theatre, cinema, architecture and the like? These endeavors tell us where we’ve come from, who we are, and where we’re headed. They shed light on our weaknesses and shout out our strengths. What a dull, ugly, sad world this would be without the compulsion to create and the people crazy and brave enough to give into it.img_2101

It takes guts to create, to be open to whatever comes, to listen to that inner voice, allowing it to breathe, live, move, allowing it to speak and be heard out in the world. Such a vulnerable place to inhabit, parceling out pieces of one’s soul. That’s how it feels. What if others don’t like it? What if they criticize, reject, or ignore me? It’s not about that. Not for me, anyway. It’s not about whether others like what I create or even if I like it. It may not be applauded or marketable or “good”, whatever that means. It’s in the doing. It’s about developing the gifts I’ve been given to enrich my life and, hopefully, the lives of others. It’s about stepping out in faith, inspiring others to do the same.

Take, for instance, my poetry. I’m no Mary Oliver or Maya Angelou, but that doesn’t matter. I’m Polly and Polly likes playing with words, especially the sounds they make when certain words are put together. Maybe it’s too sing-songy for some, but I have no delusions that it has mass appeal. I know there are forms that poets use, frameworks, but that’s not my style. I like loose and free. It’s very organic. I write what randomly inspires me. I write about events happening at present. Sometimes it’s negative, painful, unattractive, silly, or mundane, because that’s life. I accept what I create without judgement. I try to make it the best it can be, but, then, I let it go and create something else and the challenge is always invigorating!img_2102

I recently read a book by an artist who encouraged the reader to fully explore all of their artistic gifts. I intend to do this. I’m embarking on a creative quest and I’m very excited. Here are some of my dreams, hopes, and plans:

  • I’ve started singing again and am thrilled to have the opportunity to sing a duet with my daughter at church in the near future. I’ll eventually provide a link for the performance, in case you’re interested in giving it a listen.
  • I used to play the guitar and have decided I’d like to take up the ukulele and work on writing songs again. Maybe, down the road, I’ll share them here.
  • I loved to draw as a child and I plan to work through the book “Drawing from the Right Side of the Brain”, something that came highly recommended by a friend. I’ve often thought I might like to learn to paint.
  • I only discovered photography in the last five years and am still learning, but I so enjoy looking for things to photograph and examining them closely. I also love editing and combining photos and want to become skilled at using Photoshop.
  • Someday, possibly when I retire, I hope to participate in community theatre.
  • Of course, I’ll continue to write. It’s a gift I received from my dad that I intend to exercise for the rest of my life. It’s here that I find healing, joy, and peace.

img_2105So, my question for you is, what are you doing with what you’ve got? I have a friend who messages me on Facebook with devotionals she’s written once a month. I look forward to every new installment and hearing about what God is teaching her. I have another friend who makes pictures with small, smooth stones she finds on her hikes and sells them to make money for her favourite charity. I have other friends who do needlepoint, paint, do stained glass, and write flash fiction and fantasy novellas. Maybe you’re a gardener, cook, baker, woodworker, sculptor, fashion or jewelry designer. Whatever it is, don’t wait. Do it now. Do it patiently. Practice. Hone your skills. Do it whenever you can squeeze in an hour or two or do it in small steps every day. Quit your job and do it full time, if you’re able. And then, share it! Share it! Please, share it. Don’t be afraid. The world needs your imagination and talent on display and you need to create. You know this. It’s time to answer God’s call to be a co-creator. Get on it and have fun!

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All pictures in this post were taken by me. Posts come out when I feel like it. 😀 Scroll down to the bottom of the page to follow me or sign up to receive my posts via email. Listen to my posts on Spotify. Follow me on Instagram. Take a peek at my Redbubble store: Pollyeloquent.redbubble.com. See samples of my products below most posts. Thank you for giving me some of your precious time!

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2 thoughts on “On Creativity

  1. I thank God for your creativity.
    May you continue to sprinkle beauty in my life & the lives of others. Be blessed!

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