“Being a writer is a very peculiar sort of a job: it’s always you versus a blank sheet of paper (or a blank screen) and quite often the blank piece of paper wins.” ― Neil Gaiman
I had a neighbor who used to write, and paint, and read a lot. His bright house looked like a museum, decorated with his own paintings, and words collected from his own wise life. His wife was a great cook who loved feeding me some soul-stirring food from her kitchen. To me, they were the live examples of creative people full of life and optimism. I frequently presented them as example when friends called creativity “dark” and “lonely.”
I find writing algorithms very creative. Building something from scratch to end up with a solution portrays creativity. Ideas are creativity. Living life on one’s own term is creativity. Telling your story to a billion of unknown people is creativity. Capturing a sunset in the memory is creativity. Making family albums every year is creativity. Planning weekly dinner menu is creativity. Learning to play a new game is creativity. Making rhymes on a half smiling moon is creativity. Deciding cushion cover pattern for the living room sofa is creativity. Singing your own song is creativity. Making intelligent decisions for your friends is creativity. Making a roof top green garden is creativity. There are infinite views about creativity, owning one from them is creativity. Finding hope is creativity.
I don’t know if creativity is easy. But being creative is not easy. Sometimes creative people face difficulties and dilemmas that no one else understands and as a result they lose optimism. Sometimes they cannot fight against a blank paper. Sometimes creative people have self-doubts. The way some of them present their creativity may cause anxiety. The reaction some of them expect from people on a creative piece may cause fear. Some of them event doubt if the beauty they see in a sequoia tree on a hilltop is the “right beauty.” Then the labels society gifts: creative people are “always in their head” and creative people are not social. We forget that most of the inventions that we enjoy were first brought to us by some creative genius and most of the classics we read in book clubs were authored by someone who enjoyed being alone.
Not everyone can make time for wildlife photography after partying on weekends. The reason is easy, creativity is like meditation. You never know when you can connect with your inspiration and successfully build a bridge. Right amount of solitude is necessary for creativity.
History shows us often how creative people were misunderstood by others. We all have our own interpretations and perceptions. A sunset is not the same to everyone. To you, it may mean an end of a day. To me, it may mean the beginning of a beautiful evening. I know so many creative people use pen names to avoid being misunderstood in a society that cannot stop judging.
In past, I had my own doubts too. I was often called creative, but I could never be that positive about it. In my mind, I was not creative enough because I was not building spacecrafts, or not writing an award winning story. But I was curious about many things around me and making something new in my own way. A few years ago, I attended a remarkable creativity workshop by Stanford and that broke many of those doubts. I was convinced that creativity was optimistic, it was curiosity and it was not about making something that was already not there. And obviously it was not always about making others happy.
“We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.” – Oscar Wilde
I think, creativity is the best way for me to unfold certain beauty and supremacy within my life that I cannot seem to access in any other manner. I would like to spend as much time as possible in such state of supremacy while I am still here on the earth. Which is why I write, I photograph, I learn new things from the books I read, I design pebble art, I plant tomatoes and basil and then I make a newer version of tomato basil pasta in the kitchen. Creativity is fulfillment to me. Creativity is optimism.
What is creativity to you? Do you find optimism when you create something?