I have always been fascinated by ‘acts’ of creativity. I have been thinking a lot about this lately. Over time I’ve come to realize that acts of creativity are evidence of a larger and often wondrous process. My starting point for this wonderment was the belief that I was not particularly creative. Sure I’d accidentally done creative things, but rarely with intention. For a long time I viewed creativity as a sub-conscious process that in a "Tao of Physic’s" sort of way could not be truly identified. If you grabbed it long enough to examine and identify it you somehow destroyed its purity.
As I became more involved in virtual worlds, I became less comfortable with how I thought about creativity. I found as I played in Second Life (see Reflections on Play)… I developed a delicious combination of discomfort and desire - to create. As my years in the Metaverse evolved, I found myself actively pursuing and developing creatively. Today, thinking of myself as not a 'creative type’ is not acceptable. (I know ‘creative types’ out there are impatiently sighing at this too common lack of faith). Now, I respond to this internal dissonance by seeking to change how I think about and behave creatively.
In that light, today I ran across a nice thread of thinking about the nature of creativity. It started with the blog post in Dispatches from the Imagination Age referencing a piece that Rita J. King wrote titled “What is Creativity?” for Sciencehouse.com. (In general, I’ve noticed that Ms. King does a wonderful and thought provoking job of approaching the idea of creativity from, for me, unexpected directions; such as, the commercial, business and science worlds via her work on the nature of Innovation). In her piece at Sciencehouse.com she pointed me in a number of directions.
A "take-away" for me is the affirmation that while creativity is about innovation, thinking, seeing, and expressing ‘new’ thoughts, ideas and concepts… it is also ‘grounded in what you already know’. Yes thinking ‘outside the box’ is evidence of creativity, but creativity is also based on an understanding of ‘the box’. Creativity is connected in time and content to all those who came before, either to define or defy ‘the box’. Knowing one’s own relationship to and understanding of this history is a prerequisite for intentional creativity.
I found this idea (mundane to some I am sure) helpful to understanding the current state of my evolving creative process. My ‘studies’ over the last year, while quite tool based; but they are also part of my understanding of both how ‘the box’ is constructed as well as of the multitude of possibilities both within and without ‘the box’.
I can see I’ve spun myself up into a bit of an over-analytical lather about this; however, I feel a falling into place, or a better understanding of my own creative process. To paraphrase Rita J. King - Creativity is not something elusive and removed from the regular stuff of life… creativity is within and a result of the regular stuff of life… or to put it in a more rarefied manner as Elizabeth King says at Stay Out of School.com “Truly, creativity is the natural reciprocal of critical thinking”
Enough rambling for now… enjoy chasing your own creative threads… may you wrap yourself in its wonderful cloth.