For many of my earlier years I believed each of my stuffed animals was alive. Every time I left the room they huddled around my miniature tea set drinking and chatting. I tried to tell myself they weren’t real, but I couldn’t help it. My imagination overpowered my practicality. Maybe this sounds like I was more a crazy child than a creative one, but we forgotten middle children get left to our own devices. Of course today we have the opposite problem: believing a stuffed animal comes to life when you leave the room warrants a trip to a psychologist rather than indicating an active imagination.
A couple of weeks ago, I attended the Orange Conference in Atlanta, Georgia–a great resource for church youth leaders and volunteers–and listened to Jared Herd speak on the scientific proof that we lose our creativity with age. I have noticed this in my own life but always attributed it to my laziness. Now I know I’m also working against nature. So how do we re-clasp what came so easily to us as children?
The most intensely creative I’ve ever had to be was during the fall semester of my senior year of college. I took a poetry workshop required for my English degree and in my first lecture learned we would be required to write and turn in four poems a week. Four decent poems a week. (Professor Haley did not distribute mere completion grades.) With my grade on the line and a tight deadline, my creative juices found ways to flow I didn’t know were possible before. From this experience, I believe being forced to be creative is the best bet we have at maintaining creativity. Waiting for the moment to strike you is probably the worst. Though that happens–to some more often than others–it’s unsafe for your fading creativity to count on it.
For me, this blog has helped force my creativity, but I know I must be more proactive. I must keep myself attuned to beauty, ideas, new ways of thinking. The moment we begin to feel comfortable and are able to predict the next move, we’ve allowed for more shedding of our creative pounds.
Little depresses me more than the thought of allowing “real life” to chip away at the creativity I was born with, so I’ve decided to fight against myself and nature to reclaim my creative rights. Who’s with me?