To be a creative I believe is something that is innate within you, it drives you, and to a certain extent, is your life force.
Creativity is probably one of the most important characteristics of being human. It is one of the main traits that makes us successful not only as individuals but as a species.
Therefore there is much to be said about the importance of creativity in our lives.
According to the Oxford dictionary creativity is defined as the use of imagination or original ideas to create something. Therefore we often think about creativity as making, but I have also come across a description of creativity meaning ‘to grow’, a definition I think is the closest to describing just how creativity operates.
When I am creative I feel as if the world, and all that is in it, is vibrantly alive and that indeed I am growing as a person.
Whether it is something that is a part of one’s nature or something that can emerge through nurture, I will leave to science to determine. However in my case I have been one of the lucky ones who has been surrounded by creativity all my life. It is probably why I have been prepared to embrace it not only as an important, but a vital, element of life.
With an artist father and a foster father who was a master craftsman in shoemaking, there was no way I could escape creativity. I have never known a time where there hasn’t been someone doing something creative around me. Even my grandfather who could be described as an ‘Ocker’ Australian – a football, meat pie and Holden cars type of guy – was also to me a creative man. He built his own veranda extensions, the barbecue, a fountain and even a caravan, before his untimely death to cancer. Things all made his own hands (and often part of family projects).
While that familial male creativity was of a practical nature, there is also a history of what I would call intellectual creativity within my family, particularly on my father’s side.
My father’s three brothers all had creative careers at some point in their lives involving such fields as advertising, acting, music and copywriting. I recall going to the Dunstan Playhouse a few times during the 1970s and 1980s to watch Uncle John perform in State Theatre Company performances (the sets usually also painted by my father), or seeing him appear on the television through South Australian Film Corporation miniseries productions such as Sarah Dane and For The Term of His Natural Life. His wife, my Aunt Judy, was also an actor, one of her most notable roles being the schoolteacher in the 1976 adaption of Storm Boy (and yes I am looking forward to seeing the new movie when it is released soon). Even their children, my cousins, have been dancers, musicians and writers.
I also suspect that growing up in Adelaide during the Dunstan in the 1970s provided a significant backdrop to this creative output that surrounded me.
Unsurprisingly most of my childhood hobbies tended to revolve around creativity. Being the youngest by a few years, I developed the knack of entertaining myself and regarded creativity as a friend. In addition to piano and dancing lessons, I would spend many an hour absorbed in writing, reading, drawing and listening to music. It was also not surprising that many of my friends also had a tendency towards creativity.
Given this background it was obvious that creativity would also play a large part of my adult life. The big debate of my secondary school years was over what form that adult creativity would be, as I vacillated between journalism or acting. I still remember clearly a wintry Saturday afternoon sitting in my bedroom and all of 15, when I made the momentous decision that whatever uni course I got into would probably determine my future professional creativity. Essentially, as a good creative I really left it up to the universe to decide my my fate. In the end that toss of the coin landed on journalism after successfully obtaining a cadetship at The Advertiser. As they say, the rest is history.
Looking back now it was probably always going to be the path I pursued. Although I have since crossed over to the ‘dark side’ to work in public relations and communications, writing remains my true creative outlet. While creative hobbies have included singing along with dabbling in drawing, painting and photography; my creative muse is strongest when I’m doing my own writing.
Maybe because of self-imposed deadline pressures, I know how I feel when I don’t get to take up that chance to write. I can be somewhat antsy when day-to-day life and other commitments get in the way of progressing either this blog or the work in progress.
Even when I don’t feel well, allowing a creative moment and getting a little bit of creativity happening always makes me feel so much better.
As I said before, when I am creative it feels as though all is right with the world and I feel alive.
However creativity is not just important to my own self being. I believe it is also vitally important at a broader level for our society. To me, if creativity was to cease around us there would no such thing as a civilised society. It is why the current culture wars I see occurring both here in Australia and elsewhere around the Western world scares me.
Without creativity and culture we would not grow, we would not innovate and worst of all beauty would, I believe, disappear. It would result in a very grey world. Such a world unfortunately presents the perfect ingredients for democracy to die and totalitarianism to flourish. The consequences of such tyranny is stagnation. It is why I will continue to embrace, practice and promote creativity and encourage you all to do the same. The price simply is too high.
This piece is part of the August 2018 Writers of Adelaide blog chain. Dean Mayes has kicked off the conversation with his take on the importance of creativity. Others who will be joining in include:
Please feel free to look at why my fellow Writers of Adelaide colleagues believe creativity is so important.