Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Creativity: That Live Wire word

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Tim Painting

Creativity: that live-wire word.

The words ‘creative’ and ‘creativity’ usually signal a yearning for the path not taken, a sense that a more interesting life lurks elsewhere. If only I...
If only what?

If only I had more time, fewer responsibilities... a more obvious talent and direction.

It’s notable that people who live the life of an artist rarely use the word, except in reference to money. As in: ‘My creative work versus my wage-earning work.’

The allure of the word ‘creativity’ makes me squirm. I sense that people are investing it with magical and mystical powers, perhaps imagining my life, and others like me, as being sprinkled with fairy dust. My response is to deflect along the lines of: ‘Your gardening is extremely creative; the way you teach small children/knit sweaters/cook Indonesian food uses a creative mind’.

The yearning that is so alive in speaking of creativity, twinned with the self-deprecation (‘What I do isn’t the least bit creative’) usually comes from someone who is entirely engaged with his or her life. So I don’t quite understand what is missing.

That’s not entirely honest: I do know. It’s a yearning to have a life-long project that takes you anywhere, across time and space, that uses full mind and all its pockets and crevices. And something other than mind. Maybe it’s intuition.
Maybe it’s – shhhhh – Creativity.

Though the creative life (not to be confused with moments of creativity) is mainly sitting for years in front of a computer screen, wondering how to tug a novel out of the swamp.
Perhaps I’m embarrassed at being seen as someone who has something that others want.

The views expressed in the Writer-in-Residence blogs are those held by the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Open Book: Toronto.

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Ann Ireland

Ann Ireland is the author of A Certain Mr. Takahashi, The Instructor and Exile. Her most recent novel is The Blue Guitar. She lives in Toronto.

Go to Ann Ireland’s Author Page