Creativity is the Vocation of Human Beings

Monday, July 27, 2015

Mid Summer.12 x 20, pastel-2

Midsummer, pastel, Jess Kilgore

Last night we watched Words and Pictures, a magnificent movie, and it posed the question, Which is more powerful? Words or pictures? Words, as embodied in the English teacher, or pictures, represented by the art teacher? Of course, the answer is that they are both powerful, and that art, whether written or painted, gives us a new way to see the world.

As writers, as artists, we are in the business of showing people a new way to see, a new way to think. We are in the business of changing the world. Just imagine how many thoughts, how many tomes and books and reflections have flowed from these seven words: In the beginning was the Word. Poetry or spiritual reflection not only gives us new ways of understanding but points to depths and levels beyond our understanding.

And I should add that creativity is not the exclusive province of artists and writers. Creativity, as my guru Hildegard says, is the innate vocation of human beings. We are all called to be in the process of creation, whether building a house, planting a garden, composing music or composing our lives.

I think of my work in therapy this way too. In psychotherapy we come into partnership with another person, opening ourselves to new words, new thoughts, new ways of seeing, and then working to forge and build and rebuild, creating and recreating our life each day.

1 thought on “Creativity is the Vocation of Human Beings

  1. Nancy Wanderer

    Nancy, this is a wonderful reminiscence about Miss Hickman. Although I was, in fact, “the milkmaid,” which made me feel very unexotic (not a real word, I know, but a true description of me then and now), I also gained confidence in my writing from Miss Hickman. I went on to actually teach writing (legal writing, that is) as a law professor and write a book on legal writing, including a long section on grammar, punctuation, and usage. My son used the textbook Miss Hickman wrote in his junior high school English class in Waterville, Maine, quite a distance from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Despite her unglamorous, but accurate, description of me, I also adored Miss Hickman and use what she taught me every day. I will never forget her saying that something I had written on the first paper I handed in to her was “gobbledegook.” I was mortified and have tried to avoid that mistake ever since. I wonder whether Miss Hickman knew what an effect she had on so many young minds. I hope so.

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