Originally Published January 17th, 2019
This is part 2 of a 3 part series on creativity. If you haven’t read part 1, start here.
“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.” —Picaso
Remember when you were a kid in elementary school and every day you had a different art project? It was part of your growth and development. Kids learn the best through experience—we all do. So why is it that when we become adults we throw away the coloring books, sketch pads, & musical instruments? At some point, life becomes serious and we have no time for fruitless hobbies such as finger painting.
Have you ever seen what happens when a child is left alone in a room with a magic marker? Without hesitation they become (Italian voice) Michelangelo—the kitchen counter, walls, fridge, floor, chairs, cabinets—their Sistine Chapel.
Kids are full of wonder and their vehicle for learning is the creative process.
Why create? Because it’s part of your development.
Just because you have your big boy/girl pants on doesn’t mean you can’t get your hands dirty. Create because it can help you understand what you’re good at and what you’re not. Create as a way of exploring and interacting with the world around you. Create in order to grow as a human being.
Create to experience becoming—to grow your soul.
Kurt Vonnegut’s Letter to Xavier Highschool
In 2006 one of my favorite authors, Kurt Vonnegut, received several letters from students at Xavier Highschool in New York City. It was part of a persuasive writing exercise where students were tasked with convincing their favorite authors to visit the school. You can read the whole story & his response letter here.
Vonnegut was the only author to respond to the letters. What he wrote to the students is one of my favorite justifications for why we should create.
“Practice any art, music, singing, dancing, acting, drawing, painting, sculpting, poetry, fiction, essays, reportage, no matter how well or badly, not to get money and fame, but to experience becoming, to find out what’s inside you, to make your soul grow.“—Kurt Vonnegut
Creating is the ultimate form of learning.
When you pursue a craft, not only are you learning how to become a better painter, writer, singer, photographer, film maker—you’re learning about the human condition, history, sociology, psychology, science & yes….even some maths (eww).
Learning is compounded by the creative process.
Why create? Because you have a potentially limitless self waiting out there to be discovered. Create to grow into the person you were meant to be.
Until you pick up the camera, the guitar, or the magic marker—you’ll never realize what you could become.
“The arts are not a way to make a living. They are a very human way of making life more bearable. Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven’s sake.” —Kurt Vonnegut
Thanks for reading!