I believe that every human being who is living or has ever lived was made in the image of God, the Creator. I believe this, first of all, because I am a Christian and believe the biblical record that says God made man in His own image.
From that reality follows certain things. We are moral creatures, capable of choosing good or evil. We have personality and intellect, heart and soul, drive and ambition, capacity and ability.
And creativity. Like Creator, like creation.
Yesterday’s post, unpacking a quote by bestselling author Stephen King, highlighted the importance of reading as preparation for writing. King’s goal, without a doubt, is to stimulate literary creativity. He wants writers to write and to do so with skill.
I think I need to bring a necessary balance.
One might be left with the unfortunate conclusion, having read King’s quote, that unless one is a reader, especially an avid one, he or she ought not try to write. Following on that logic, unless one has music or art lessons—especially “proper” ones—one ought not try to draw, paint, sculpt, or play piano. Really?
Nothing could be further from the truth.
Training in the arts is often helpful. It gives one exposure to the best that creatives have offered fellow human beings throughout our history. Such training often helps us along with instruction in techniques, interpretation, style, and grace.
But sometimes such training, though well-intentioned, has had the effect of stifling or even truncating one’s gifts. Not all the time for sure, but too often.
The creative instinct is by nature a wild, exuberant, and wonderful thing. It tends to defy a leash and, indeed, often withers by such an attachment. It was because he thought about the universe as a child, rather than as a scientist, that Albert Einstein formulated his theories of relativity (General and Special).
What to do then? Simple. Write! Draw! Play! Compose! Sculpt! Act! Do so with wild abandon. There’s little you cannot do unless someone tells you that you can’t. That’s not the purpose of this blog. My biggest regrets have come by believing I couldn’t do something significant because someone older and “wiser” told me I couldn’t.
And as for training? Think it through and do so carefully. If it enhances the gifts you’ve been given, then try it out. If not, continue creating and let the snowflakes layer the ground where they will.
Most of all, enjoy the ride. There’s nothing quite like creating, inventing, and reimagining. It is, in fact, a divine partnership with the One who made you.