January 4, 2016

Creative Side?

By Claire Fullerton

I have an eighteen-year-old niece named Sara. She is long of limb and long of hair, with angel-blue eyes so reminiscent of my brother that they haunt me. She is in her freshman year at a liberal arts college in Oregon, and I heard about her curriculum yesterday over the phone. She has yet to decide on her major and is therefore taking courses aimed at a well-rounded education: physics and math classes I can’t even pronounce, chorus and a creative writing class to balance the score. 

And I, being unqualified to discuss any of her classes beyond one, grasped the subject of her creative writing class and said, “Tell me about it.” She said that after all the papers she is expected to write for her other classes, she finds it hard to employ her “creative side.” It was there I combed the hair of my advanced years and dove in with a life jacket.

I don’t think people have a creative side; I think people are creative by virtue of their existence. Writers need only do two things: open the door within, and give themselves permission to write. The way I experience it, writing is not any different from thinking. It seems to me we all have a voice that resides within like divinity’s spark, and what writers seek to do is express this in the hopes that they are understood. Nobody can tell a writer exactly how to do it, because it is a personal, individual process. 

In my mind, telling someone how to write is like saying, “Let me tell you about how to be you.” Mind you, people can hand you tried and true craft and form, but they are only guidelines aimed at reining in creativity and putting it in a manageable place. And because I’m convinced we all have so much spinning around internally without a rudder, it seems to me writing takes that tangled ball of yarn and gives a person the first thread to straighten it out. It charts a course for linear thinking, for organized expression, and is ultimately an outlet for individual truth.

But writers have to see themselves as creative first. They have to understand that they fundamentally are, and see it as a gift. If they do, they can take pen to paper, as it were, and let it shine.
Claire Fullerton is the author of “Dancing to an Irish Reel” (Literary Fiction) and “A Portal in Time,” (Paranormal Mystery), both from Vinspire Publishing.  She is an award winning essayist, a contributor to magazines, a five time contributor to the “Chicken Soup for the Soul” book series, and a former newspaper columnist. Claire grew up in Memphis, and now divides her time between Malibu and Carmel, CA with her husband and two German shepherds. She has recently completed her third novel, which is a Southern family saga set in Memphis. 

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