Creatively productive. There’s the holy grail. To express the fullness of my potential as a unique individual and somehow do it well enough and often enough to get paid for it. Which is more important? Caitlin Kelly blogs about this and points out some of the beloved irony of us creative types — she won a Canadian National Magazine Award for humor for an essay about her divorce. Humor and divorce really don’t seem to go together, but that’s probably what made it work. I will spare you all the make lemonade with the lemons of life metaphor (whoops, that didn’t work.) In Real Life we must be productive, but do we put the cart in front of the horse with our focus on quantity? I am fascinated by Austin Kleon’s advice not to wait around until you know yourself to make things. Just make things, which leads to knowing yourself and thus the well of human creativity.
People tend to be amused by my eccentric creativity, but where is it’s value? That’s the big question. What makes a painting created by random slinging and splattering worth thousands of dollars, or not? I’ve got some pretty amazing metaphors and word plays up my sleeve, but what makes it marketable? Austin Kleon’s work, Newspaper Blackout, is a smash hit, but does the monetary value lie in the use of markers on newspaper? Would people value the same poetry if it were just typed out on regular ole paper? People are funny like that. Some things are perceived as wickedly cool, while others are relegated to lame gimmicks. I happen to think Austin’s work is Wickedly Cool, by the way. Does anyone care about the monetary value of Mom-ness? Is my in-depth research on the citizens of Planet Teenage Boy and Planet Teenage Girl significantly marketable? I have lots of creativity, but creating productively is the heaven to which I aspire.