My Thoughts: Ideas Are Everywhere

Yesterday, I mentioned the book I’m currently reading by Twyla Tharp:  The Creative Habit.

There is a lot of her ideas that I agree with.  There are several exercises I am going to try.  (Some of them may end up in some fashion here.)

There is something I disagree with, though.

She says:

“I hesitate to wax eloquent about the omnipresence of ideas and everything we need to make something out of nothing–tell a story, design a building, hum a melody–already reside within us in our experience, memories, taste, judgment, critical deamonor, humanity, purpose, and humor.  I hesitate because it is so blindingly obvious.” (pages 95-96, emphasis mine)

I disagree with the last line of that, particularly where I added the emphasis.

It might be “blindingly obvious” to those among us who are accustomed to looking for, finding, and using ideas everywhere in everday life, but there are some people who don’t, haven’t, and can’t.

My friend Nita (of The Road to Scholarships) and I talked about this last night.  She said:

“[H]ow about us who are creative, but don’t necessarily think of ourselves as creative?   I mean, I make quilts, that’s creative. But for a long time I didn’t consider it creative because I was following someone else’s pattern.   The same thing with sewing clothing, I was using a pattern, how could that be considered creative, but it is. “

I think part of the reason behind my disagreement with the author’s statement is because in her book, she is — in a very real sense — preaching to the choir.  The book is aimed for creatives who recognize their creativity.

Later on, Nita said:

“First, I thought of the project and planned it.  Second, even though I’m following a pattern, or directions, the fabric choice is mine, so that’s part of my creative input.  Third, especially with clothing, the outfit looks different on me than on anybody else, so I was being creative in designing an outfit for myself.  And I  have yet to make a quilt that looks like anybody else’s yet all I use are traditional patterns.”

This is the crux of it:

“[A]nd it only took me [this many] years to realize I am creative, and darn good at it too. “

There are a lot of people, in my opinion, who never recognize their creativity.  They are the people who would be lost in reading The Creative Habit.

In that case, my disagreement with the statement is a moot point and not worth the energy put into this post.  My point, though, is that even though we know ideas are everywhere, many times we forget.  That’s when we need to refill our well or use tools such as the Idea Pocket to refresh our memory about the — to borrow Ms. Tharp’s wording — omnipresence of ideas.

Someone needs to remind us they’re there for our use.  Why not the writer of the book?


3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. nita
    Jan 30, 2008 @ 19:33:26

    Dang girl, you make me sound smart.


  2. Jen
    Jan 30, 2008 @ 19:58:33

    You are smart.


  3. Rebecca Laffar-Smith
    Feb 01, 2008 @ 17:08:47

    It is amazing how many people, even experienced writers still struggle to feel that abundance of ideas. I wrote about The Idea Waterfall recently. My directions to that wealth of ideas. I’ve found I really do have to follow the directions listed or my waterfall of ideas dries up.


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