Our weekly talk this time started with a question, black on white on the screen in the classroom: “What is creativity?”
A little brainstorming session brought up some interesting words, ranging from: different, new, art, knowledge, uniqueness, development, innovation, creating, making, ideas, imagination, madness, skill, hard work, and many more…
It is kind of funny that everyone in the classroom was brought to think that something “creative” had to be unique or different in some sort of way, and I hadn’t realized either that actually… Creativity is simply the act of creating something.
I like finding out the etymology of words, simply because it explains a lot about the topic under analysis, and in this case “create” comes from the Latin verb creo which means to make, bring forth, produce.
In this sense creativity means the ability of making something, the quality, standard and originality of the artefact do not really matter at this stage.
So if creativity means just being able to make something, who is a creative person?
Well the answer is under our eyes, because if creativity simply means to create something, then everyone is a creative person.
But if everyone has the potential of being creative, why are there some people who consider themselves not to be creative? An example can be the common phrase: ”I can’t draw”, “I can’t write”, “I can’t…”
I remember my teacher at primary school used to say: “I do not want to hear any of you saying I can not do it”, and she used to tell us off if anyone was complaining about not being able to do something. She used to say that the work she was giving us could be done by everyone, the fact that we would express ourselves in different ways whilst doing the work would not matter.
So the question following this whole preface is: can creativity be taught, can it be cultivated and nourished?
Ted Talk – 4 lessons in creativity
In this talk, Julie Burstein points out how the main tool to express and enhance our creative selves is simply experiencing things.
What needs to be understood is that creativity is not an end goal, something that can be achieved once and that will last for the rest of one’s life. There is no such thing as a Bachelor in Creativity, and this is because creativity is an endless process of discovery of the self and the external impulses coming from the world and the people around us.
In the article from the Guardian, some known artists explain how they find their inspiration and how they push their creative boundaries in order to create something original and worth watching/listening to.
Some of them say they set multiple alarms in the middle of the night, because when they are half asleep they have the best dreams and they draw their inspiration from that. Others exercise early in the morning, others look with attention at people on the subway, others listen to niche music. There is no one-way route to explore our creative self, it is a continuous journey and discovery.
The key here is that all those individuals who we, as an audience, consider to be creative people, are simple humans who started thinking outside the box.
What do I mean by that? Well the metaphorical box could be considered to be any constraint which we have from what we learned at school, or what our families taught us, or what society pushes us to think. Once an individual starts trying to look over that fence of traditional and classic and boring, then the real us comes out and the work produced will be original and interesting.
This week we took part in two experiments. The first one was about listening to two different songs with our eyes closed and let our imagination run wild. After the end of the tune we had to write down our thoughts, the mental images the music made us see in our head, our feelings about it.
What is in my notebook regarding this song is: a chase, with cars and two people running, things breaking, fighting, one comes closer, then they lose each other, shooting, heavy breathing, running up the stairs, police cars, people scared screaming and running away, doors broken down.
This is what I felt when I heard the second track: poker room, dimmed lights, men playing cards, swearing, alcohol, dodgy deals, smoke, mysterious people, illegal, business.
What needs to be said is that the responses were so different amongst people in class. Many wrote that the first music reminded them of shapes and metallic objects one against the other. The second music reminded someone of a romantic scene, to someone else about bungee jumping. This is the proof that our minds went in totally opposite directions although we were exposed to the same medium. This was caused by different factors, from our mood on the day, to what we are going through in our lives, but also the way we have been brought up and our surroundings.
The second experiment had to do with creative writing. We were given a pair of words, from which we had to think of a third word, relevant in our opinion to the first two. From the list of the words we thought of we then had to write a story in 10 minutes sharp.
Here are the words I came up with and my story
Passion, newspaper = Journalism
Time, warm = Pie
Sand, roof = Beach bar
London, ring = Traffic
Bag, smooth = Velvet
Music, air = Glastonbury
Life, wolf = The Jungle Book
Friend, moon = E.T.
Rope, leaves = Treehouse
Clouds, hammer = Thor
Interfere, wine = Sunday
One day I was thinking of getting into journalism, maybe fashion, to write about velvet bags and fancy beach bar outfits, but then I remembered how much I enjoy being lazy on my couch on a Sunday, sipping my wine and eating a freshly bakes steak and Guinness pie. It made me think that maybe I don’t want to be a journalist, but an explorer, which I kind of am already, an Indiana Jones of modern times, running through traffic like Mowgly in The Jungle Book. Why do I have to worry about the future so much? Can’t it be like when I was little and I was staring for hours at the sky from the top of my treehouse, waiting for E.T. to come to say hi to me? Or maybe it was Thor, I can’t remember who was my favourite between the two. I was thinking all this and all of a sudden I realised I was standing with my feet in mud in the middle of Glastonbury, so I just went back to my singing and dancing and I thought: “I will worry about the future another time”.
I hope you enjoyed this week’s blog and stay tuned for more interesting chats!