The thoughts of an American Muslim and mother of four raising her children in small town USA with her Egyptian husband.
Thursday, March 05, 2009
Capturing the muse...
I don't know about how other creative types work, but I don't choose when I can muster up the full force of my creative mind on something. So, when I heard the title of a lecture series for educators here in WY was Teaching Creativity... It brought to mind the two major questions I have always had about creativity.
Is creativity innate, or can it be learned?
Can creativity be forced or directed?
Well, here's my answer as a performer, writer, and generally right-brained person. Creativity is innate, and you can't force or direct it (much to the chagrin of people like myself).
You know the chorus of that song by Sara Bareilles where the chorus says "I'm not gonna write you a love song 'cause you ask for it, 'cause you need one." For me it's like that. I don't choose what inspires me, and it isn't always logical. I can't set out to write (poems are the worst) about something because I want to write on a certain topic. Things either come to me or they don't. It was the hardest thing about being a live performer playing characters... It would sometimes take me a long time before I saw that character in my mind, before the whole thing came to me. And I still can't choose to write a poem, I can't sit down to do that before it comes to me spontaneously. I have often wondered how artists paint commissioned works. How do they draw inspiration to do something someone else is choosing for them? And writing for a deadline must be really hard. I think this must be where the myth of the muses comes from. People knew that things just came to you, and they wanted a reason that would explain why creativity couldn't just be turned on when you needed it.
What I do think we can do for our children is offer them a variety of creative arts so they can find their niche. Somewhere inside of us all there is some small seed of creativity, and I do think we can help our children to nurture that. I want my kids to try all sorts of mediums as they grow, maybe they will find something they love. But I disagree with the idea that I can teach them to "be creative". Do you see what I mean?
This is where you see that some people are crafty, and some are artistic. You can see it when you go to classes for arts and crafts. The person who has a very logical brain will produce a replica of the instruction sheet. The artistic person (if they dig the project) will somehow give it their own flair.
I wish we would just accept that you can't force someone to love and be inspired by anything. You can't teach someone to love reading novels. No matter how good they are technically at reading. You just can't, and what a crazy disorganised world it would be if we all just went around pursuing artistic endeavors. We NEED the diversity of logical and creative... So I hope they NEVER find a way to teach creativity, or logical thinking for that matter.
I am a mother to four wonderful kids and the wife to one wonderful Egyptian! We live in a small town in the Midwest and work in our small businesses. I am also a Waldorf preschool teacher and childcare provider, a backyard chicken lady, a part time homeschooler, and a generally crunchy mama (think hijabi in birks).