June 18th, 2012

I’m about halfway through IMAGINE: HOW CREATIVITY WORKS and I think I’m done with it. The conclusions drawn are often contradictory or ho-hum and the tone of the book is a bit breathlessly portentous, but mostly I’m burned out on the whole subject of creativity. I probably own more books on the subject than anyone I know, and yet I sit on my ass all weekend instead of painting or writing or making something. Lately, there is a lot of chatter on the internet about creativity, especially in blogs written by “creatives” (how did that become a noun?), and it feels like they are all just talking to each other, recommending the same cool books, listening to the same cool music, watching the same cool TED videos, living in the same cool cities, working in the same cool fields, attending the same cool conferences, referencing the same cool thinkers. I’m trying to figure out how to get back to my beginner mind — when I didn’t know what was cool and just followed my nose like a dog sniffing out the neighborhood when it came to exploring the world of ideas. I recognize that there is a weasel-like part of me that wants to be a hipster, an insider, a trendspotter, but it’s a part that I have to put down like a rabid dog when it starts rampaging through my psyche. When it comes to work or art, longing to belong robs me of my own voice, no matter how small or quiet it might be. I need to step back into the ordinary in order to see it with new eyes.

9 Responses to “Re-Vision”

  1. Dani says:

    I have been thinking this exact same thing since I was a junior in college majoring in photography. It was then that I realized how much I was growing to hate photography because I knew too much and no longer could see the beauty, only the technical mistakes. It was heartbreaking.

    By the way, I (obviously) still have your camera. We should catch up soon.

  2. Sandy Donn says:

    I think you’re on to something. . .and you’re right about longing to belong robs you – it’s a thief. Let it all go. I will say this – it takes a lot of discipline to work by yourself at any kind of art. There are two clubs – those who join and thrive on the throngs and those who quietly do the opposite. Doesn’t mean we don’t want to be “the other” but you are very close if not already there in finding what makes you thrive, bloom, grow. Love your thoughts and always look forward to your posts.

  3. Nikki, I am always tempted by the wish to belong and be cool. But then somewhere along the way I sabotage it because some aspect of me rebels at being anything somebody is already. And then I get resentful of all the cool kids and want to play with them and I’m chasing my tail again.

    Thanks for having the courage to stand up and share this.

    I’ve been in a dark place for a while and finding a bit of light has been a challenge. However, gradually, I’m finding the feelings of hope creep around the corners of the door. I am finding that my friend inspiration is there waiting for me. And I am realizing that disconnecting and just sitting allows me to get there.

  4. I’ve always thought there was something ironic about studying creativity. How do we find ourselves by following someone else’s path?

    It’s easy to over-think creativity. Art historians aren’t usually great artists and literature professors aren’t normally distinguished writers. Movie critics don’t make great movies…

    I guess what I’m saying is the only surefire way to be a creative is to create–however, whenever, in whatever medium you choose.

  5. nikki says:

    I agree. I think I’ll go on a creativity diet.

  6. harriet says:

    I always like your posts~ thank you for always saying what’s on our minds! miss seeing you-

  7. Joyce says:


  8. Monkey Mind says:

    I am now allergic to cool. My hometown has been overrun with cool people, shops, food and I am so glad to be living out in the country away from all those damn trends. I couldn’t believe a woman from NY who told me that ten years ago when she first got to Charleston it just hadn’t “arrived” and she almost left!! Now she’s obviously happy with all the fricking COOL!

    I just want to get down to what is really REAL before I die!

  9. nikki says:

    I know! Cool has become 4-letter word in my opinion. Or am I just jealous that I’m NOT cool?

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