Feb 19, 2011

on creativity

 So, there's this awesome video of Thom Yorke dancing to "Lotus Flower" that came out this week (I think?).  Both myself and Myri really enjoyed watching it the other morning when it popped up a bunch of times on my facebook news feed.  As I was watching it again this morning, it got me wondering about how people get to moving like that, and then how people get to making music like that, or how people get to drawing the way they do.  I asked myself how people get to be creative in general. 

It's a pertinent issue to me, as I myself am pretty creative (and working on being more so), and I want to foster my daughter's creativity as she grows.  It will strike me as odd if she turns out to be a world class Muay Thai fighter, and never touches a Staedtler or a Micron in her life.  Though I'm assuming that her impressive musical and visual arts lineage will impart some type of creativity to her, I also want to know how best to augment whatever it is in her nature to be.

When I think back to my own childhood and what might have made me the way I am (besides my awesome genetics), I recall spending lots of time alone.  That's it.  Except for a few months of gymnastics when I was 6, and piano once a week for a few years, my time was all my own.  I can't imagine a life where every day of the week was a different class, along with homework, studying, and family time.  After all that, when is there time to think and develop one's own ideas?  It takes more than 15 minutes of free time before bed to become a Kahlo, or a Dostoevsky.

Perhaps in the end it's all genetics.  Maybe some kids, when left to their own devices become shiftless hooligans, out dealing crack at all hours of the night.  I won't say I wasn't a shiftless hooligan, it's just that I was up drawing or writing poetry by candle light at all hours of the night (I was such a tortured soul when I was 15) instead of pushing drugs on street corners.

No art classes, no summer camps, no weekend creative writing groups.  Just me and my sketchbook, which never left my side from the age of 13 onward.  I guess what I'm trying to get at is that even the most well intentioned structure can be stifling for creativity, especially when there's a lot of it.  I guess I'll wait and see when it comes to Mimi.  If she wants to take kickboxing after school, I'm not going to stop her.  But I'm certainly not going to force her into classes she doesn't want to take.  I mean, just think of how Thom Yorke would dance if he had been sent to dance classes after school?  Or if he was also in Cadets, Boy Scouts, and the Chess Club? Not like he does in that video, that's for sure.