Saturday, February 2, 2008

The importance of creating

Creativity was the essence of Marcie' uniqueness. Marcie surrounded herself with creativity and engaged in it.

Marcie not only created things of beauty but also appreciated the creations of others. Books, meals, movies and architecture, singers, composers, and artists of all stripes gained her appreciation and patronage.

As Marcie worked towards her English degree, she leaned most of her class selections towards the study of not just literature, but the arts as a whole. She reveled in visits to the various museums, libraries, movie houses, bookstores and music venues San Diego has to offer.

One notes that dwindling numbers of people appreciate, much less engage in, the process of artistic creation. One also notes the tendency people have to push children and teens away from the arts and humanities and into professional degrees. If they are not pushing degrees, it is tradesmanship in place of craft.

The demand that we specialize, homogenize and even self-marginalize eats at the capacity we have to appreciate or even tolerate those who do not. Often, this pressure to pursue practical functionality ends the artistry or the common person. The world wants everyone to fit in a certain niche and function there.

We are called, as we go through life, to focus like a laser on one field of endeavor at a time. That is wrong. People are multifaceted.

The brutal nature of our society's outlook on our fellow human being is an outgrowth of this conformity-thirsty, aesthetics-rejecting mandate. The greed in our economy for orderly and predictable inputs from pliant and contributive laborers demands that all who avail themselves of less hard-nosed pursuits than wealth or advantage, and those that presume to pursue happiness in a manner another can profit from, be somehow "corrected."

At the same time, those who deem themselves and those they will hire worthy of art's rigors tend to preclude the mass. Snobbishness, competitive, money-focused nastiness, an exploitive studio culture and collaboratives that serve more as cliques than schools do not merely drive off the common creators. They also have fallen into the mindset that the paucity of colleagues is due to some special elite status, as opposed to what it is, the slow alienation of creation from appreciation. The same can be said for literature, film and music. This all must end.

Just as we do not always know when an idea will become a usable technology, we do not know when a piece of art will become relevant in a way the mass can appreciate. But if the mass is engaged in the creative process, perhaps that lag time between a permutation of art as a novelty and as an institution will shrink. Perhaps the idea that art is "before its time" should be examined more closely, to assure that saying, "before its time," does not actually mean, "we are not ready for the world to go there."

Sometimes the brutality is that of the cold-hearted allocation of few resources to the creative, the different or the conventionally unemployable. Consider the beauty of someone whose every word is written in a deeply poetic inner voice, silenced for years by society's brutal dismissal of her. How many Peyton Goddards wrestle with their own "ires-epic" today, undetected? Every one is a great loss.

The drive to create must be inspired and supported in every person who ever wished to express themselves, as much for their pleasure as for their profit. Every person who paints needs not be a master. Photographers should display their shots. Actors and performers should find a stage. Those who sang should continue to. But this does not happen. Instead, criticism, pseudo-sympathetic entreaties to "more productive" pursuits and the difficulty of paying the price of creativity winnow the ranks of the artist, the singer, the bard and the chef.

Once a person has been pushed away from the creative well by the pressures of post-industrial and the snotty gauntlet of their discipline's "scenedustry," I have noted that it sours them on the field itself. The artist cannot reject their own participation without rejecting some part of the form they were ousted from. This means that art loses twice when creators cease to pursue their craft.

Marcie constantly prodded and cajoled her creative friends to pursue their gifts and their urges. I will try to as well. I am officially starting a little movement I will promote personally.

I call on all of you who created in the past to stay in touch with that, to revive it if if has faded, to follow it closely if you have let it go and to start creating in the manner you choose. Return to museums and dancing and movie houses. Sing, strum a guitar, draw something, take photos, cook a meal with your own special ideas in it or just tie grass into little woven bracelets.

Even if such a movement were only to increase the number of grass bracelets in the world, to invite any one person back to any creative process successfully is something to be celebrated. All should push for the common creative to be reborn and the neglected talent to be recognized and renewed.