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Creativity is child’s play

January 15th, 2005 · 1 Comment

Last Friday night while driving off the ferry dock and onto the freeway, I turned on the car stereo knob, as is my habit. But then I turned it off to listen to something else. Abigail was singing. She was singing her own song: a gentle melody with lyrics of gratitude. Radio tunes can’t compare to the sound of a little girl’s compositions. Jeneane Sessum’s daughter sings songs too.

On Friday I also read Joey deVilla’s blogpost where he linked to a story (link no longer works) reporting the outsourcing of scrapbooks. According to the article excerpt Joey quoted, I must not be a responsible mother since I’m not up at 1 to 3 am crafting my photographs into shapes. (I have beter things to do between 1 and 3 in the morning;-) ) I have tried my hand at the art and after analyzing my attempts, I have concluded I must have been given other talents in compensation.

The outsourcing of scrapbooking highlights our culture’s emphasis on consumption rather than creation. Joey linked to a Doc Searls Creative Commons interview:

The Net undermines the idea that customers are nothing more than consumers with names. Jerry Michalski (Julie’s note: link mine) calls consumers “gullets who live only to gulp products and crap cash.” They are the aphids of the industrial age.

Is it more important to create the scrapbook or to own one? Is it more valued to buy it or make it? And, as Joey pointed out, how can someone else – minus the memories! – know the significance and stories behind the items to preserve?

As adults, it is an acceptable recreational activity to spend money and leisure time on art made by others. Go to the movies. Get CDs. Purchase clothes. Buy cards. Our culture encourages us to consume while failing to encourage us to develop the talents and abilities we each have. A few opportunities in elementary school, perhaps a pinch pot or charcoal scribble, might be all the art someone experiences creating. Then it’s on to adulthood and aphidhood.

But creativity comes easily to children. Given a few moments of free time, my daughters will ask me if they can cut and color paper. Until we had kids, Ted and I had no idea what could be made from a few crayons and some scraps. They dress in costumes and make their own docu-dramas sans camera. They take photographs, with toy cameras and real ones. They sing songs no one else has ever heard, live music never the same way twice.

And one of the many best reasons for being a mother: all this art is free! I get to hear songs, see plays, view paintings and enjoy ballets in their opening debut. This weekend they made a museum for us to visit. Their creativity encourages me. If only we adults shared this vitality and vigor. If only we entertained each other more often with what we make rather than what we bought. If only money and marketing weren’t as much part of the picture. If only the grown-up world of art was as fun and free.

On Saturday the girls made a museum, putting their sculptures and drawings on display. This was their idea; I hadn’t suggested it. I was thrilled by their new thought. However I did get a bit concerned when soon after the museum opened, they began to discuss admission prices. Soon though they settled on the fare: Everyone under 100 got to go to the museum for free.

Tags: culture

1 response so far ↓

  • 1 Earth Girl // Jan 15, 2005 at 5:56 am

    Great post. i remember being amazed at my boys fearlessness in creating – from drawing anything to building a tornado catcher with legos to their own songs as you indicated. This began to fade in middle school as they became more aware of how others would judge their creations. Ricky though still composes songs, soulful love songs.

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