Is playing with blocks the same thing as being creative?
Over the last several posts—with a few side-steps—we’ve looked at rules; what they are, if should break them, and if so, how you might go about it. To be frank, about all we’ve learned is that there are a lot of damn rules out there, and they cover everything you can think of, and much you haven’t yet aimed your brain at..
A topic we might want to tackle down the line is “why”. Why are there so many rules? For now, I’ll suggest that most of them are merely shortcuts, tricks and gimmicks, designed at best to prevent us from going outside the lines in our favorite coloring book. Perhaps rules would be easier for us if we only thought of them as guidelines.
But that isn’t why I called you all together here, today. Nope. Today I want to push around a few ideas about creativity, what it is, and whether or not there is any hope for us, we dwellers in the world of the mind and imagination.
It has been said that there is “nothing new under the sun“, and frankly, one would be hard put to find something totally and refreshingly original.
This doesn’t mean we don’t try, however. There are those of us who are always looking to create something new, but our problems are many.
For one, we look in old places for something new. At best, by doing this, we may take old components and put them together in a clever way. But is that really a new idea? So, what we use for source material is a major issue.
Then comes the really hard one: If we came up with something that nobody has ever thought of before, how would we describe it?
If you are a fan of Science Fiction, you’ll have noticed by now that better than 98.6672%*of all alien species could just be men and women in rubber suits. They have two arms, two legs, a face, a voice, and human wants and desires. Oh, and they speak flawless English or no language at all. Why do you suppose this is? (Nah, it’s OK, I’ll tell you.) It’s because if we created an alien character that truly was alien, we could only describe it from afar. We would not be able to attribute wants, desires, needs, or anything that we recognize as a part of our world.
This is where we need to draw the line in creativity. Yes, we could force something on our readers, something inexplicable, but the problem is, without normal, human, terrestrial hooks, our readers will just shake their heads and move on to an easier to read book.
So, wait a minute… whose side am I on?
Despite this bleak picture of what it is like to create something out of whole cloth, I still believe it can be done. True, most of what we see as creation is just moving old ideas around and assembling them in unique ways, but I’m holding out for a truly original, truly riveting idea.
Frankly, I don’t know how to do that, but I think that the people who say it can’t be done are those poor souls who have given up on their minds.
Now, go ahead. Have at me. Your thoughts?
* Note: 78.63% of all statistics are made up.