Our theme for March is creativity. I recently heard an interview with Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat Pray Love, that made me think about creativity in a new way. Gilbert was talking about interviewing singer-songwriter Tom Waits while working as a journalist. Waits shared with Gilbert that he believed each song he wrote came to him from outside himself. Waits saw creativity as a force with a personality and life of its own. An idea or some lyrics would come into his head and Waits would negotiate with them, wrestle them or try to comfort them if they were too nervous to express themselves fully. Waits recounted yelling and screaming in his studio at songs that were being stubborn or hiding from him. Once Waits was driving on a busy interstate and a song started to come to him. There was no way to write the lyrics down while driving and yet he did not want to lose them. He spoke calmly to this unborn song saying something like, “Look, I am in my studio for eight hours a day. I’m busy now. If you have something to teach me or tell me you can visit me then.” Apparently it worked! The lyrics came back and visited Waits in his studio one day and a new song was born.
Creativity is a word often reserved for writers and artists, but I believe everyone brings a unique way of seeing and interpreting the world. What is the creative process if not just that: observing, reflecting on and interpreting the world or an experience through your individual lens? As you think about this month’s theme, I invite you to consider your relationship with creativity. Is creativity a presence or a force that visits you from outside yourself like it is for Tom Waits? Is it something you feel you were born with that the world draws out of you? How do you use your creativity to engage with the world?
May this month’s theme be a chance for you to discover, re-imagine or celebrate how you relate to creativity.