Friday, January 9, 2009

Thoughts on Creativity

by Sarah Albrecht

I’m excited and thankful to be part of this blog; what a great opportunity to pull thoughts together into a semblance of cohesion, to share life’s wisdom, joys and sorrows with each other and become stronger as a result. Ideally, this post would have been completed and waiting on the lineup before my kids resumed school after the holidays and life resumed its usual frenetic pace. However, that didn’t happen. Each time I sat down to draft I couldn’t seem to say anything.

This problem made me think about the nature of creativity. Bear with me as I approach those thoughts in a rather round-about way.

For years as a young mother, I squelched the need to write--to create with language--that has been with me for as long as I can remember. I labored under the conviction that I had to sacrifice everything that made me individual to be a good mother. Sometime in the past few years, the mists of darkness parted and I realized what I should have known all along: that I could use my talents and still be a good mom. I took a deep breath and started writing.

Soon I found I labored under another illusion: now that I had returned to my natural creative home in writing, all would be well. True, the essence of home is safety, love, peace and satisfaction. However, home isn’t always that way. It can be aggravating, messy, and chaotic.

I didn’t want that part, the aggravation, the mess, the chaos, but there it was. Creativity-- in writing or music or art or even in life itself, for with the agency we have, are we not creating ourselves— is hard work.

To balance out those daunting elements, I turned to the supreme Creator’s example. As Dieter F. Uchtdorf said in his last Women’s Conference address, “Creating…[is an] objective that contributes to our Heavenly Father’s perfect happiness. Creating…[is an] activity that we as His spirit children can and should emulate” (Ensign, Nov. 2008). This is what I learned, or re-learned, on further examination of our Father’s creative endeavors:

-God created all things spiritually before creating them physically (Gen. 2:5, Moses 3:5). Despite the spontaneity inherent in creation, creativity requires planning and skill.
-God created the heavens and the earth, separated light from dark, created plants and beasts and every living thing, and saw that they were good (Gen. 1). Creativity can be fulfilling.
-God rested upon completion of his work (Gen. 2:2-3). Rest from creative effort is necessary and good.
-All was created for the use and enjoyment of man (D&C 59:18-20). In its highest form, with all its planning, skill, and effort, creation is service.

Feeling more validated and hopeful about my efforts to create, in general and in writing, I looked for more wisdom about creativity. Here are a couple of quotes, first from novelist Virginia Woolf, and then from Hungarian scientist and writer Arthur Koestler:

"It is worth mentioning, for future reference, that the creative power which bubbles so pleasantly in beginning a new book quiets down after a time, and one goes on more steadily. Doubts creep in. Then one becomes resigned. Determination not to give in, and the sense of an impending shape keep one at it more than anything." Virginia Woolf

"Creativity is a type of learning process where the teacher and pupil are located in the same individual."—ArthurKoestler http://www.wisdomquotes.com/cat_creativity.html

It’s a new year, ready to create with the materials at hand. Best of wishes to us all!

5 comments:

  1. I love your quotes, Sarah! I loved Pres. Uchtdorf's talk...especially his thoughts on creativity. I am going to go back to the scripture references you gave and ponder on them...probably for many days. Thanks for the enlightenment! What a great way to start my weekend!

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  2. What great insight Sarah. I hadn't thought about the spiritual creation of things prior to their physical creation in terms of a book, but you are so right. It does take work and planning. I needed that shot in the arm. Thanks.

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  3. Thank you for your thoughts on creativity and the reminder of Elder Uchtdorf's words. I'll have to go reread them. I also appreciate the reminder of a spiritual creation coming first. That's so important when writing a book--we need to see it and feel it and create it in our mind and soul or it is doubtful we will have the perseverance to see it through to its physical creation.

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  4. I liked your insights about the creative process and how it does require work and planning. So we keep on plugging, is that it?

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  5. LOVE YOUR QUOTES! I'm sooo struggling with that middle of the book slump but I'm determined.... I also wish that the teacher in me when I was trying to be creative was a little louder and the pupil would be quiet sometimes.

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