Saturday, April 12, 2008

Notes from Woman's Creativity, part 1

From The Woman's Book of Creativity.

First I promise I will not be doing all my exercises here, but for now this is a convenient place for me to keep track of some things.

Ealy references the book, The Art of Thought (1926) which outlines a paradigm that she says people who study creativity grabbed on to and haven't really let go of (keep in mind this book was written over 10 years ago). The paradigm has four steps in the process:
1. Preparation - gather all important information
2. Incubation - the mind puts things on the back burner, allowing the unconscious to process things
3. Illumination - where a "solution" is suddenly brought into focus
4. Verification - "giving an outward form to the creative idea" (p. 6).

This paradigm was creative studying men, since the 1920s there has been great debate about whether women's brains work the same way with most people in "the field" say no, which means the above may not offer much to half the population. On the other hand I think many of us use a combination of linear processing, as expressed by the above, and a more "holistic" form. Holistic simply seems to mean not linear for a lot of people but maybe "relational" would be a better descriptive. Reviewing some of the things I have done I see both methods used, sometimes individual tasks seem to require one or the other, but I can also see how I tend towards a combination of processing a great deal of the time.

Page 11

What's your definition of creativity?
Ealy asks us to complete this statement: For me, creativity is.....

When I read this the other night I had an immediate answer that seems to have vanished into the ether since then. Perhaps one part of my answer is "fulfillment". That's what I am thinking at this point. {Added after writing the rest of post, as I edited.} Rereading this answer it's not very descriptive is it? By fulfillment I am thinking about how without creativity there is a lack of passion, drive that goes beyond doing what is necessary to have a place to sleep and food to eat. It is that intangible quality that lights us up intrinsically, that offers us a haven when other things are going downhill or inertia threatens our spirit.

An exercise on page 16 asks the reader to think of the creative people you know and list their behaviors or qualities. Which do you have? Which would you like to inhabit more?

Thinking of a number of people my answers include:
- ability to find joy in the most basic experiences
- interest in a lot of topics, not simply their craft
- physically active
- disciplined
- enjoy down time
- social
- express themselves verbally and in written form
- deeply appreciate others' creativity
- supportive of their friends
- challenge themselves to learn new forms of their art
- a good sense of humor
- finish things
- follow through on intentions

I am sure there are others but it's a start. Immediately I know I am not disciplined and need to be more physically active. This is not just because I think it will enhance my creativity (though I believe it will) but for a million other reasons as well. While I finish some things, I could have a higher output, or not. Not sure if actually finishing everything one starts is necessarily to define oneself as creative but it is a dimension that is important to me. Follow through in all areas is something I think is the quality I want to work on the most because it encompasses the other two in terms of meeting the goals I set for myself, doing things that I know will make me happier, healthier, and more me.

Ealy suggests picking one word, writing it on a colored index card, making about 10 of these and putting them where you will see them regularly. After a few weeks choose a new word/quality on a different colored card and repeat. I like that she asks her readers to concentrate on just one thing. Visual prompts like these cause a push-pull response in my head. It seems so simple, silly almost, but when I have done it (okay it's only been like twice) it did help. I suspect a quick jaunt to an office supply store (one of my favorite places to shop -EVER. Organizational opportunities everywhere, pretty pens with which to write brilliant essays, colorful folders for storing tidbits, {drool}) to pick up some index cards. TGF will probably tolerate this invasion on her visual plane, however I'll try to be mindful when placing these things about the house.

1 comment:

heather said...

i know it sounds a little cheesy, but my definition of creativity would be 'when i feel most alive'. or involve that somehow, because seriously, the thrill of creating something is just about the best thing ever. luckily i get to have that quite a bit, in varying degrees.