Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Creativity - Breaking the Mold

There are times when creativity can manifest itself in subtle ways, off the beaten path of our own particular creative endeavors. Creative people often find they have more than just one primary outlet, though they may prefer one over the other.

I have drawn and doodled for as long as I can remember. Much longer than I've been writing. In junior high school I used to carry around a folder filled with drawings much like the one to the left. One day the folder went missing and I later found out, after hours of fruitless searching, that my father had thrown it away. Was it out of contempt? Was it because this use of my time seemed to be a waste? Was my drawing something that he felt he needed to cure? I don't know, but I was devastated.

I stopped drawing for a while - I suppose you could say that my heart was broken and it took some time to mend those wounds. But while I stopped drawing, I couldn't help but fill my school notebooks and the notes I wrote to my classmates with little doodles, escaped convicts of my efforts to quell the creative uprising.

Even today, I can't help but doodle when taking notes. Someone might look at what I've written and determine that I wasn't paying attention - a misunderstanding that has occurred on more than one occasion. Much to the contrary, however, doodling while listening helps me to remember things and I often remember them much longer than those who attend the trainings or briefings with me. Some people are the complete opposite. Their notes must in perfect order, everything with a place: outlines with numbers and letters. It might have something to do with the whole right brain / left brain thing, I'm not sure. The important thing is to find which method works for you and to realize that the status quo isn't for everyone.

Now, the point of this post is not to say that I can draw. There are people out in the world today that can dwarf whatever talents I may or may not have with the wave of a pencil. The point is that sometimes you just have to do what you have to do. Don't let other people and their expectations get in the way of who you are. It is okay to be creative and to want to spend your time expressing that creativity. As long as you aren't hurting anyone or anything, feel free to pursue the creative outlets that strike you as appealing. Likewise, don't expect perfection from yourself - art is much more than that, it is expression and no one is perfect. Therefore all art is subject to understanding.

Be courageous, break the mold and listen to the gentle song of the muse as she whispers in your ear.


Jim Murdoch said...

I've never been one for doodling other than boxes within boxes which apparently means I feel trapped. You're not the only other writer to doodle. Beckett did - all the time. His drafts are full of them. Someone even gave a talk recently about his doodles so hang onto those pics, Brady . . . you never know.

James Bent said...

Jim - I think you've got a really interesting point there though re: drawing boxes, in as much that you're starting to tell a story i.e. the boxes mean that you are trapped. The next logical step is to explore why you're trapped or what you're going to do about being trapped, so the picture (or doodle) is already starting to tell a story.

I grew up working as an artist blacksmith with my father Richard Bent, then I worked for a while as an abstract painter, but all the while I wanted to write, which is what I do now (re: my creative endeavor). However, I still like to do a painting every once in a while.

It gives me this feeling, like I can actually feel something opening up more inside me, especially painting, but I can imagine drawing and doodling to do the same thing - doing something different, but still creative, makes me sit up and be like "wow, I can see that there is creativity going into this", whereas with writing the process becomes so familiar sometimes that I lose that perspective.

James, Outré

Joanne Olivieri said...

I completely agree with your line "Don't let other people and their expectations get in the way of who you are." I think as creative beings we will find many outlets and when you find talents you enjoy, they need to be expressed.

Jena Isle said...

Hi Brady,

It's good you've come to that realization. You're a fantasy and sci-fi fan like I am, and your doodles are perfect for your stories.

The Author said...

What a wonderful blog you have. So much wisdom and truth in everything you write. So sorry all those doodles and drawings got thrown out. I can only begin to imagine how painful that was.