Creativity ~ Somewhat Random Thoughts :)

Talk About...Creativity

Last night I actually wrote a letter.  By hand.  Two pages worth, decorated with random doodle art. :)  Twenty years ago, that would not have been noteworthy.  Last night it earned a spot as my Facebook status.  Twenty years ago, my trademark was LONG newsy letters and random cards sent for no reason other than "just because".  Today, I can't get to the post office to save my life, and it recently took me almost a week to manage to purchase a book of stamps.   The only way our Netflix movies make it to the mailbox is (a) our mailbox is literally just outside the front door, and (b) our 11-year-old is in charge of returning Netflix movies.  Otherwise, we would be watching Season 2, Disk 3 of the Brady Bunch for the next seven months.

*Anyway*, I was writing this letter to the very-most-creative person I know, my friend T.  We've had many discussions over the years on the topic of creativity.  It is a topic about which we used to argue (one of the few things I remember us actually arguing about, other than the phrase "thank you"...yes, we have an odd-but-wonderful friendship. :)),  and about which I finally had to concede a few years ago that she had been *right* all those years (as a result, of all things, of a Vacation Bible School lesson...*rolling eyes*...I hate it when that happens!) 

I've blogged before about the eye-opening realization a few years back that creativity is actually a character quality, and as such, it is something that God expects us to work at and develop in our lives as we become more like Him...the ultimate Creator.  

But back to my letter...I was wishing on paper that T. could be here right now...thinking how much fun it would be to share this avalanche of VBS crafts and church camp crafts with her and how helpful her creative genius would be as I attempt to put it all together.  Because, as I shared with her (about which we have also talked before), I've been in a bit of a creative slump lately.  And by lately, I mean for the past 4.5 years.   No, that wasn't a typo...and yes, it said "years".    

Dr. Wesley Sharpe, in his book Growing Creative Kids, says that emotional stress is a "major block to right-brain thinking and creativity".  He says this about children under stress...

"Children may cover up their anxiety and learn to put on a good front, but anxiety cripples creative thinking.  Deep emotional stress restricts their ability to shift to the creative side of the brain.   These children feel safe in an undemanding routine that lowers their anxiety but fails to inspire creativity."

That is true not only of children, but of adults as well.  I've definitely seen it in the past few years of chaos in our family, and I've talked to others who have experienced the same type of creative dry spells during times of grief or stress.  

So...I was sharing with T. that I have been trying hard lately to pull out of that creative slump once and for all...that I am needing to actually "be" creative again, "rather than just playing at it to meet some deadline or another."  As part of that, as well as trying to better nurture creativity in my children, I've been reading some interesting books recently.  I hope to share more about them soon.  

I found this interesting yesterday, though.  I just started reading Imagine: A Vision for Christians in the Arts, by Steve Turner.  Turner spent time in the 70's at L'Abri, the Swiss "learning community" founded by Francis and Edith Schaeffer, who happen to be two of my favorite authors.  In the first chapter of Imagine, Turner discusses the need for truly excellent Christian artists who are able to express *truth* through their art, in response to the empty questions and false answers that abound in much of art today...artists who are able to engage in the cultural debate on an equal footing.
As I read, I was reminded of a comment Bro. Kent made in a sermon a while back that really impacted me, and I searched through my notes for it last night.  The sermon was on Daniel 1: 17-21, and the topic was "The Gift of God's Wisdom."    In talking about wisdom being a gift from God, Bro. Kent mentioned that "this includes knowledge and understanding of the world's literature and wisdom.  We need to know what the world is thinking so that we can engage them in intelligent conversation and refute them."  (That is a quote of my notes, btw...probably not an exact quote of Bro. Kent...hopefully I got it close!)   I jotted in my notes "a strong argument for excellent education".    

I'm really looking forward to reading more of Steve Turner's argument for excellence in the arts.  Hopefully it will continue to motivate me to be diligent in working to put that lengthy creative slump behind me, as well as working to nurture creativity and artistic excellence in our children.

I was surprised to discover this morning that the month of May is "Creative Beginnings Month".  A Google search didn't yeild much info on exactly what that *means*...just that it *is* an actual, official "national month".  (In case you are interested, May is also "Better Sleep Month" and "Get Caught Reading Month"...which I think we'll celebrate as well...and "National Artisan Gelato Month" and "International Audit Month"...which I think we won't. ;-)  Here's a list of May's official observances, just fyi. :))

It's always nice to find out you are celebrating something you didn't even know existed!  It sounds so much better to say, "We're celebrating 'National Creative Beginnings Month'" than to say, "I'm trying to dig my way out of a creative slump right now." ;-)  

Anyone else celebrating Creative Beginnings Month?  Or continuing long-term creative endeavors?  How do you pull out of a creative dry spell?   I'd love to hear what others are doing creatively, as well as thoughts or ideas for nurturing creativity and artistic excellence in children.

(I'm linking to "Talk About Tuesday" today...hop over to Lara's to see what others are talking about today!)

1 comment:

Sarah said...

Thank you so much for this post! I've been feeling very similarly, and it's reassuring to be reminded that my lack of creative enthusiasm can be blamed on some of the situations I'm in! ;-)

Loved the link for official observances, too.