In her post “A Little Weird? Prone to Depression? Blame Your Creative Brain,” Susan Biali, M.D. writes about a friend of hers turning her on to “The Creative Brain” by psychiatrist and neuroscientist Nancy C. Andreasen.
Biali says, “If you’re a creative sort, this book will make you feel blissfully normal in your strangeness.
“It was pretty much one big sigh of happy relief and recognition for me.”
She goes on to include some of her favorite highlights of the book, with comments. Here are a few excerpts:
1) “We cannot afford to waste human gifts. We need to learn how to nurture the creative nature.”
Every parent needs to know this. Every person who has a talent that they long to play with and develop, but thinks it’s silly or a waste of time or too late, needs to understand how important this gift is and understand its worth in their very cells.
Imaginational and cognitive intensities, qualities of the kind of “teeming” brain that many high ability and creative people have, may be key elements for solving problems and doing creative thinking.
But over-active thinking and imagination can sometimes get in our way.
This number problem comes from the post Overthinking and Your Child-Like Mind and, as the caption notes (click to view larger size), children are able to solve it much more quickly than programmers.
A number of blind or visually impaired artists have created sculptures and music, but what about visual art and design?
Here are two examples of blind artists who have persevered to follow their creative talents, and are working in fashion design and photography.
Mason Ewing was blinded at 15 from years of horrific abuse at the hands of relatives.
An article about him reports that he is now successful as a fashion designer, and is developing a teen comedy and a drama series for television.
The image is a drawing, made by another artist, for one of his designs, a “Marie Antoinette” gown.
Executive Director for the Stanford Technology Ventures Program, Tina Seelig, PhD also teaches courses on creativity, innovation, and entrepreneurship.
In her post Seeing Your World in TechniColor in her blog CreativityRulz, she writes about one way to enhance creativity: Paying more careful attention to our environment, which, she notes, “actually takes some effort.”
“Most people see the world in black and white, missing most of the opportunities in their midst.
“They travel down the same routes day after day. The path is so familiar that they can practically navigate it in their sleep.
“But, there are some people who see the world in Technicolor.
“There is a myth, common in American culture, that work and play are entirely separate activities. I believe they are more entwined than ever before.”
Laura Seargeant Richardson, a principal designer at global innovation firm frog design, continues: “A playful mind thrives on ambiguity, complexity, and improvisation—the very things needed to innovate and come up with creative solutions to the massive global challenges in economics, the environment, education, and more.”
From my post Creative Development: Actively Caress Wonder. Play.
Creative endeavors often start small.
One of a number of articles about him notes that “Nine-year-old Caine Monroy spent last summer creating an elaborate cardboard arcade in his dad’s used auto parts store in east Los Angeles, armed with little more than packaging tape and whatever materials he could find.
“I have never been a fan of learning in a classroom. Inside a laboratory or a garage, I always wanted to know more, but never inside a classroom.”
Caltech physicist Caolionn O’Connell, PhD.
“It is often said that education and training are the keys to the future. They are, but a key can be turned in two directions.”
Ken Robinson continues, “Turn it one way and you lock resources away, even from those they belong to. Turn it the other way and you release resources and give people back to themselves.
“To realize our true creative potential—in our organizations, in our schools and in our communities—we need to think differently about ourselves and to act differently towards each other. We must learn to be creative.” [From his book "Out of Our Minds."]
“They wondered if that capacity for creativity they remembered from their youth would or could ever return.” Lisa Rivero
How can we successfully hold on to the creative thinking and passions we had earlier in life?
Ken Robinson and many other writers and leaders warn that too many children are having their intellectual and creative abilities eroded by educational institutions.
We may find inspiration to be more creative in art classes and writing workshops – but what if our very sense of being creative has been eroded by ordinary schooling?
In his acclaimed TED conference presentation in 2006, Ken Robinson referred to the “really extraordinary capacity that children have, their capacities for innovation…” – but added, “And my contention is, all kids have tremendous talents and we squander them, pretty ruthlessly… creativity now is as important in education as literacy, and we should treat it with the same status.”
“Graduates from creative writing programs do not include insecurity, rejection and disappointment in their plans.” Dani Shapiro
“The feeling of frustration is an essential part of the creative process… Before we can find the answer — before we probably even know the question — we must be immersed in disappointment.” Johan Lehrer
We may get all enthused about a creative idea – a section of a novel or play, a dance routine, a concept for a photograph – but then we have to face the often frustrating challenges of making that idea real – while facing inner and outer hurdles.
The photo is Nicolas Cage as screenwriter Charlie Kaufman in ‘Adaptation’ (2002).
You can see a brief video clip from the movie in the article Why We Don’t Create, by coach and writer Cynthia Morris, who notes, “The original impulse of an idea is fun, energizing, exciting. The actual path to executing and completing that idea is fraught with our very human fears.”
Creativity coach Eric Maisel, PhD warns this is one of our challenges. He says, “Only a small percentage of creative people work as often or as deeply as, by all rights, they might be expected to work.
“What stops them? Anxiety or some face of anxiety like doubt, worry, or fear. Anxiety is the great silencer of the creative person.”
Definitions of the word “improvise” include “to compose, play, recite, or sing on the spur of the moment, without previous preparation” and “to make, provide, or arrange from whatever materials are readily available.”
One of the elements of creativity tests such as the widely used Torrance Test of Creative Thinking is questions about “unusual uses” – such as, “How many uses can you think of for a tin can?”
That sounds like a cognitive sort of improvisation.
You can see drawings by children and adults who took the Torrance Test, plus evaluations by creativity scholars James C. Kaufman and Kyung Hee Kim, in the post How Creative Are You?
The photo is Keith Jarrett. His Amazon.com page lists his albums and notes he “has come to be recognized as one of the most creative musicians of our times – universally acclaimed as an improviser of unsurpassed genius.”