I’ve been thinking about this question recently, probably because I’m in one of those why-is-it-so-bleeping-hard-to-create-phases. Though my trusty quotes collection has more words on creativity than any other topic, it’s a puzzler.
According to Albert Einstein, “Creativity is contagious. Pass it on.” which sounds as if you have to know the right people in order to catch it.
When collaborators have told me I’m creative (much appreciated, by the way) they seem to use a lot of “i” words: imagination, ingenuity, inventiveness, inspiration, innovation… To me, it sounds hifalutin and mysterious.From the Merriam-Webster Dictionary: kri·eɪ’tɪv·ɪ·t̬i: noun / Ability to produce something new through imaginative skill, whether a new solution to a problem, a new method or device, or a new artistic object or form.
Yikes. Apparently it also has to be new!
The quotes below ring true to me when the creativity flows… and (sigh) when it stops:
1. “The creative impulse can be killed, but it cannot be taught. What a teacher can do… in working with children, is to give the flame enough oxygen so that it can burn. As far as I’m concerned, this providing of oxygen is one of the noblest of all vocations.”
2. “If I create from the heart, nearly everything works; if from the head, almost nothing.”
3. “Learn the craft of knowing how to open your heart and to turn on your creativity. There’s a light inside of you.”
4. “The chief enemy of creativity is good sense.”
5. “To create one must be willing to be stone stupid, to sit upon a throne on top of a jackass and spill rubies from one’s mouth. Then the river will flow, then we can stand in the stream of it raining down.”
6. “This is the extraordinary thing about creativity: If just you keep your mind resting against the subject in a friendly but persistent way, sooner or later you will get a reward from your unconscious.”
7. “Your work is to keep cranking the flywheel that turns the gears that spin the belt in the engine of belief that keeps you and your desk in midair.”
8. “ ‘Keeping busy’ is the remedy for all the ills in America. It’s also the means by which the creative impulse is destroyed.”
9. “Decision by democratic majority vote is a fine form of government, but it’s a stinking way to create.”
And last, one of my very favorite quotes in the world…
10. “You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.”
PHOTO CREDITS: Angelou: Dr. Maya Angelou Chagall: Russian Paintings Gallery Cleese: Albert L. Ortega Dillard: Phyllis Rose L’Engle: George M. Gutierrez Pinkola Estés: Getty Images Hellman: Bernard Gotfryd Jamison: Andrew Eccles Oates: Agencia EFE/Rex Features Picasso: Tony Vaccaro/Getty Images