Creativity is not one of my strong suits. Oh, I appreciate art and creativity well enough (as I interpret these concepts anyway) and there are times when I’m inspired enough to want to produce something, usually via baking or photography, scrapbooking or writing. The first time I baked ciabatta bread I truly felt I’d created something beautiful (and delicious!) My photographs can sometimes turn out to be quite artfully composed – I’m better with composition, however, than I am with the technical aspects of operating my trusty camera. And occasionally (but never often enough) I am able to find the words I’m seeking to convey ideas or emotions that come to mind at those most quiet of times when my heart sometimes speaks — or whenever a word or a phrase pops into my head and I am compelled to flesh it out and DO something with it.
Beautifully and skillfully created drawings, paintings, sculpture, crafts, photography, writing, music and film: I marvel at human achievement. As the old saying goes, I know what I like. Sometimes I’m blown away by what others have created and incredulous that mere mortals are able to fashion such fantastic works of art. And always I’m jealous, wishing I had even a modicum of the talent used to deliver such breathtaking results.
My sisters chide me for my tendency to get choked up when I’m in the presence of light or goodness or grace or the mastery of the written, sung, painted, spoken, woven, sculpted, danced or otherwise illustrated words of the human soul. Watching the Thunderbirds perform at an airshow several years ago brought tears to my eyes. The power and magnificence and beauty of these awesome machines (and the humans associated with them – both the pilots and those responsible for designing and building them) almost brought me to my knees. I was simply awestruck and that moment became lodged in my psyche as a reminder that exquisiteness can be found in many things, if only we are receptive to what’s offered.
Being immensely creative and masterful of any sort of artistic medium is not, as I’ve noted, a characteristic that I possess. I have tried however! In college I took an Art 101 course to fill out my credit requirements for that semester. Going in with low expectations and a willingness to see what I had to offer, I found the assignments to be fun, challenging and sometimes a little off the wall while they allowed me to dabble in a variety of art forms. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that while I wasn’t exactly artistic I did possess a tinge of creativity and that I wasn’t afraid to employ shock value or quirkiness in the delivery of some of my assignments. One especially memorable creation of mine (which the instructor photographed and used in a slide show for future classes) made use of women’s feminine hygiene products as dinner accoutrements – much to the embarrassment of some of the male students in the class. I’m pleased to report I got an A for that assignment and for the course overall.
When I am excited and passionate about what I’m doing, when I am inspired to succeed, when I am motivated and willing to experiment this is when I’m most likely to feel good about the results. So perhaps I am creative after all. It’s just that I don’t have the artistic ability to go with it, to actually produce many things of real beauty. And I’m OK with that (but oh to be able to paint like Monet or write like Jane Austin). Lest the reader think I’m merely being coy: for every artistic ‘success’ I’ve had, there are numerous scrunched up pieces of paper in the trash, or cooking/baking results that went awry or photographs that have failed — miserably. It’s precisely because these efforts — few and far between — have hit their targets that I cherish them all the more.
Where there is passion and motivation for any endeavor the outcome may be seen as pleasing, comforting, interesting or satisfying. When something you’ve made is wrought by your own hands, under your own power, fueled by your own imagination it can be powerful stuff indeed. Some might even call it art.