I never sweated the source of creativity until my World Lit 101 teacher told us the ancient Greeks thought that poets were spokespersons for the gods. They thought words from the gods came down a poet’s arm and into his or her stylus. Hearing that and the laughter from my fellow students, I tried to determine for myself where my inspiration originated. Was it from my brain entirely or was it divine? It was a great topic of conversation and civil argument in my circle of friends while drinking coffee or diet pepsi or whatever beverage of choice and waiting for the next class.
The older I get the more I believe the Greeks got it right. My inspiration and what I do with it doesn’t come from my thinking brain. It comes when I open my celestial aperture and focus on what flows in. I don’t have a stylus but the idea comes right out the end of my fingertips onto my computer keyboard and bypasses my thinking brain entirely just the way the Greeks said it would. Sometimes, like now, I just a have a word or an image and the gods take care of the rest. They are truly brilliant.
Inspiration doesn’t come at any one time or any one place. It doesn’t come according to how badly you need it. In fact, if your life depends on it, you should go do something else for awhile. A great idea, whole lines of dialogue, a beautiful image—it all comes when I’m on the toilet, taking a shower, hoeing weeds, washing dishes. Sometimes what I’m looking for comes when I tell my brain I need an idea when I wake up in the morning and then I go to sleep.
You have to say “yes” to life, you have to act immediately when an idea arrives or ideas will stop arriving thinking you are done with them. You have to be grateful and joyful in your expression. If you don’t know what to do with what you’ve been given, write it down in a journal because the time will come when you’ll know what to do with it.
Creativity is the glue that connects us with that universal life force that I believe is love, the force that is in all of us and in all living things. That love flows to and from and around all of us and it is the one thing that informs us and all other things that we exist and we are beautiful. When other people enjoy our creations it’s because they recognize the spark of the divine that we’ve used our human skills to enhance. Their joy is their way of saying thank you, thank you.
Creativity can be found in every walk of life, not just in the fine arts, so I never believe those folks who say they are not creative. I so admire those who are creative with preparation of food. Yum! A gifter tile-setter who works in my town says he never really knows what his work will look like until he starts it. I never know what form my garden will take until I start planting. I might have a plan but how the garden layout ends up is never quite the same. It’s always better.
The Greeks used to give their Creatives food and shelter in honor of the god in them. Patronage is a good idea!
Our lives are boring and dull if we can’t find a way to express the divine in ourselves. That’s why the creative arts must remain a part of our daily education and later, our lives. Without them, we will shrivel and die and not know who we are.