“At its most basic we are only discussing a learned skill, but do we not agree that sometimes the most basic skills can create things far beyond our expectations? We are talking about tools and carpentry, about words and style…but…we are also talking about magic.” Stephen King, On Writing
In 2018 I will be focusing on this notion of creativity. Writing, yes, but also creativity broadly speaking, because I believe that all of you out there reading this can identify in some way with this idea of making something out of nothing. You can appreciate the beauty of a song, a poem a painting or a well-turned verse, and perhaps you’ve tried your hand at creating one or more yourself. Yet, you also know that while we are allowed to admire beauty we are, too often, discouraged from creating it unless it’s in our spare time, on the weekends or after we’ve done the “serious work” first.
In other words, creative work is often not taken seriously. It is mere trifle. Entertainment. Distraction. Relegated to the margins of the mainstream day-to-day work that everyone else is doing.
Well, I would like to move it from the margin, to the middle, if I may. Because, for some of us, creativity is a calling. Dare I say? Serious work, in fact. So, I want to talk more about creative work. Believe it or not, that’s not an oxymoron. In fact, the value of creativity has proven to be more important in recent years on the heels of the sterilized, standarized sameness of industrialization and technology. According to Daniel Pink author of A Whole New Mind, “our country has entered a “conceptual age” where “right-brained skills such as design and storytelling” are “more crucial than traditionally left-brained skills such as accounting and computer programming”. (CNN) It seems there might be a place at the table for us after all. For those of us who live in our right brain anyway, Pink says the world may become a more welcoming place! But, will it?
Will moms and dads support little girls and boys who say they want to be artists, writers, and dancers instead of engineers, scientists and doctors? Will the world only accept creative types if they use their creativity in the service of technology and engineering? We certainly need both scientists and artists, but I fear that we still value one more than the other. In this economy with jobs in demand and healthcare in decline, it’s the bottom line that matters more than the poetic line. When there are budget cuts in education, the arts are always the first to go, but is that okay? STEM is all the rage, but I don’t hear nearly enough about STEAM.
So, I guess it’s up to me, here in my little corner of the internet to defend creativity, to keep it alive and to declare its value. I’m committed to convincing you, if you’re not convinced already, that creative work is important. That creative work, is work. So, here I am with my top hat & bunny in hopes that you’ll be impressed.
“Look everybody! It’s not just writing…it’s magic!” I know I have my work cut out for me, but happy Monday, anyway!