It's quite the paradox that I am currently facing. I am interested in doing some creative writing, but every time I have put any amount of thought into the idea, I come up completely empty. When I try to think creatively I realize that I am not creatively inclined naturally, then all I can think about is how uncreative I am, which makes it even more difficult to think creatively. The last time I wrote anything of a creative bent has long since been stricken from my memory, so needless to say, it's been a while. While pondering my situation, I have been thinking about the things I have in my life and the things that I enjoy doing. I get to spend considerable time with my children, and they often do and say very creative things. If you have ever raised a toddler or even spent significant amounts of time with one you will discover that they are apt to say or do almost anything. I am amazed regularly by things Asher says and does, as it feel like his mind with it's 32 months of life experience should just not ready to speak in such a way. In the last couple months his intellect has been developing rapidly, he is figuring out how to count to 10, he is getting the colours of the rainbow all sorted out, and i have had my jaw dropped a few times when he remembers small happenings days later when I have long since forgotten them. Why is it that a boy of less than 3 is seemingly more creative minded than a man of nearly 30?
It is puzzling, this lack of creativity. Being aware of my situation has my ego injured. Genius seems to have eluded me in life, but I do feel that I am intelligent enough to recognize excellence in others who take a shot at this whole creativity thing. I consume considerable entertainment material that has at it's core a creative quality. Television shows, novels, movies, editorial opinion columns, sports, children's play are all things that when considered, involving a considerable amount of creativity. I am a consumer of creativity who has little patience when the product is uninspired and dry. I don't watch reality television, it fails miserably in the creativity department, and it seems most of the subject matter is intriguing to television executives as it is easily consumable. Creative material requires a certain degree of critical thinking to be enjoyed as intended. This may be why I struggle to find television programs that I enjoy outside of the mindless sitcom genre. I know what I am getting with the 22 minute laugh track, and I can take it at that. My movie tastes have evolved considerably, as I will no longer tolerate the commercialized trash that big business movie producers shove down the throats of consumers. Occasionally, I will still enjoy a movie that I have been told to watch by countless commercials and endless promotion but these productions often leave me unsatisfied. There is a certain satisfaction that comes with enjoying a movie that most others haven't seen. I feel like I am part of a little clique when that happens.
As I type this, I am realizing that my tastes in all things seem to unfold in a similar manner. I enjoy reading books that other people aren't reading, lately I have been focused on old works that may have been read by a large number, but only because they have been available for many decades and eventually enough people found their way to the material. Albert Camus is the author I am currently enjoying, and truthfully I was first drawn to him because his books are thin little things that were caught between the wide spined tombs of the adult fiction section. What business does a 120 page work have in the novel section? Camus was an Algerian born French citizen who won himself a Nobel Prize in literature in 1957. He wrote a few published plays, 5 non-fiction works, a short story collection and 5 novels, 2 of which were slapped together posthumously from material he had written. I just finished reading "The Stranger" and am now halfway through "The Fall", which means that in a week I have absorbed a considerable amount of this man's literary contribution by stealing a few minutes here and there throughout my day. Less is more has never been more true. "The Stranger" is all of 118 pages, and they are large font, well spaced pages at that.
Packed into "The Stranger" is a lot of subject matter devoid of the usual filler content that you get with most novels. The book starts on the very first page with Mersault the main character learning of the death of his mother. A picture is quickly painted of a young man who seems to be devoid of the compassion and feeling that is expected of him. He is not outwardly upset about his mother's death. He attends her funeral as if it is a chore. He engages in a sexual relationship with a former co-worker just a day after the death. When asked by the girl if he loves her, he responds that he doesn't think so. When Mersault murders a man who had been after his acquaintance Raymond the reader is provided with no explanation or motive as to why. As he is tried, it becomes clear that Mersault's lack of conventional compassion will be used to paint him as an unfeeling monster. I have a tendency to grow attached to villains when reading or watching creative material and this novel was no different. While the fact that he had murdered a man in cold blood was not in dispute, the focus of Camus' writing was on Mersault's inability to act in the manner that was expected of him. By focusing on this aspect, Camus successfully trained my thoughts on the life and upbringing of Mersault and the impact that these events had on his committing such a crime. The prosecutor focused on Mersault's treatment of his mother, who he had placed in a nursing home but a couple of years before her death. He lacked compassion towards his mother it was implied, because he had lacked the same with him. Mersault the monster who lacks compassion was created by his mother, who he then mistreated and ignored in the most ironic of twists. As the novel is wrapping up, Mersault comes to realize how insignificant individuals are. Conform or be exposed. He takes some solace in that he will be remembered in the short term despite how negative that impact may be.
The hope I had this morning was that I would have my creative part of my brain jostled into action by concentrating on the concept. I may not be creatively inclined, but I am aware that somewhere in my brain there is a compartment set aside for such thinking. Creativity can't be forced and my experiences this morning have given me further confirmation of just such a thought. I still plan to eventually produce some creative material for this space, but I have concluded that it will just happen when it does. No amount of self pressure will change that. At some time, somewhere, an idea will hit me, and material will produced and eventually self published here. I can't tell you when, or whether or not it will be any good. I do know that every human brain has some capacity for creative thinking, and my brain works on it's own schedule. Fine by me.