Defining the Creative Life

This entry is part 1 of 3 in the series 100 Things

A challenge to write 100 things, preferably long form on a single topic. I chose to write about creativity and the creative life. Inspired by arliddian.

The act of creation is, ultimately, a personal thing. We may sweat and labor and share with others the experience borne out within ourselves, or we may share the final creation that others might enjoy the fruit of our labors, but in fine, we must ourselves first create and experience beforehand.

There was a tipping point (there usually is, you know), last week, when I realized that creation neither occurs in a vacuum nor on display, that the act itself is intimate and private because it occurs in the places and spaces within my own mind. The act of creation is so far removed from the act of sharing that creation that I should never have conflated the two.

For years, I have thought that creation was writing, and writing was the work I wanted to do for the rest of my life, but as life would gradually teach me, creation is so much more than that. It knows no bounds. It's not what I do; it's how I do it.

I am passionate about words, about language and languages, about art, about food, about cleanliness and order, about ideas, about science, about making sense out of Scripture, about analysis and self-analysis, about music, and about writing. When I set out to do any task, I bring to it a broad history of experience in so many fields and passions and apply them readily to create new ideas, new methods and approaches for myself. I build and rebuild and design and, when faced with a project, prefer to scrap the old entirely for something wholly new. I love to create.

The creative impulse comes to me in snatches. It is the desire to reach that moment of perfect expression; that moment in which what once existed only within my mind meets paper, fabric, pixels, stove and manifests in physicality; when the solution is discovered; when a hundred disjointed, disparate images, ideas, thoughts, memories mesh into a single coherent understanding. That truly creative moment for me can be a single sentence, an image, a flavor captured, a perfectly beautiful trifle.

You have to kill a butterfly to pin it down.

The creative life is born out of a passion to create. It is bringing creativity to every aspect of my life, whether I am required to reorganize the dishwasher to fit all the dirty dishes in or whether I am designing a desktop wallpaper for my aunt with floral glyphs and her favorite verse. It is not straightening my room, but making it beautiful. It is not culling my papers and files, but creating order out of chaos. It is not merely analysing a single problem, but devising a frame of reference that will be useful for projects to come.

My creative life is defined as positively creating in response to life, rather than reacting. I am not the complementary and equal reaction to the scenes and props that appear in my world. I am the positive center of my own world, the cause of what it contains, and, by grace, perhaps an overflowing blessing to another's.

We are each our own world.

There is a passion burning deep inside of me somewhere that has nothing to do with what it can bring to myself: not room, board, or comfort. In fact, that passion can destroy me as easily as it can build structures and scaffolds upon the foundations. I have always been a pure scientist: I pursue knowledge for the sake of knowledge. I love to learn, grow, weave the threads I draw in thirstily from this abundant world around me into new tapestries, weaves, and threads. I love to unravel as much as to ravel.

This is neither career nor hobby. This is what I offer freely because I simply cannot restrain the output. If I must maintain in one aspect of my life, somewhere else I will create. It is my passion, and I must channel it or it will outgrow its bounds and steal away from the important demands of life.

Passion must be about what I can give to someone else. Sometimes that person is me. Sometimes that person is a nebulous someone I may never meet or encounter but through the potential of creation. Sometimes that Person is the ultimate Giver and Gift, my most personal friend. Creation is about harnessing and unleashing the passion inside me and giving it wings.

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