What’s creativity? What are the ingredients that go into creativity? What is special about the process of creative writing? These questions have been bothering me, sporadically, ever since I started developing an interest in writing poems. When I reflect back what I have written and how I have written a poem or a short story, I get some answers but they appear to be vague or insufficient to answers these philosophic questions in a satisfying manner. When I decided to teach creative writing course to my final year BA students, things took a worse turn.
To make matter worse, I was recently, invited to give a felicitation speech at a state-wide literary fest conducted by an organization. While thinking about what to say and how to make the speech contextually pertinent and reasonably point-rich, the same questions crept into my mind against my will and stole my attention away from the topic. Like ghosts wandering through a graveyard, these old questions carried me away from my focus to certain levels of intellectual quagmire. My mind started thinking about the works and authors I have read or studied and the books which were written about those work and authors from a critical perspective. Putting the essence of these reading vis-à-vis my limited but intense experience of writing poems, I decided to find a lasting solution to these nagging questions. At least to free my mind of those old but untimely interrupting puzzles about creativity, I let the thoughts take their own course. Thus the concentration of the mind was diverted from the speech to creativity for a while. Being engrossed in thoughts and stream of thinking, I couldn’t calculate how much time it took for that intellectual tug of war. The net result was the following paragraphs.
Creativity is the process of immortalizing intensely felt emotions in words. It’s liberating experiences from the clutches of a single mind to the hands of millions. Its relief, emancipation, a reaction, an explosion or an exposition to free oneself from the suffocation of thoughts. It’s a terrific blend of thoughts, words and imagination in a miraculous proportion. It disowns one’s thoughts and experiences for semantic mutilation and interpretative butchery of any literate being. The thought took a front seat and started driving off. I had to break them to list out the prerequisites and must-ingredients for creativity to emerge properly and to earn a name and fame.
To be creative and creating, you have to have an observant eye, feeling heart, penetrative mind and masterly language. The observant eye helps you see things which the ordinary eyes either fail to watch or tend to overlook. The feeling heart makes you relive the experiences even after a long gap and is invariably disturbing you to give life and freedom to those feeling in word. The penetrative mind finds a way to wrap he feelings and experiences in universal philosophy and eternal truth. The masterly language extends a helping hand to present these things in an enchanting shape and indefinite form.
The must ingredients, in my perception and conviction, are three. They could be listed as language, imagination and thoughts. The listing doesn’t refer to their priority and relative weight in the process of creativity. If you make a blend taking the initial letters of these three words, you will get LIT. Oddly enough, it says a writer or work, if made aptly blending these ingredients, will be instantly lit to spread brightness, to eliminate ignorance, to ignite thinking and to purify the soul in unimaginable magnitude. I’m sure that, by this time, you might have understood the components of what constitutes creativity and would be mutilating what I wrote to see if there is LIT.
(Writer is Assistant Professor of English, Kondotty Govt College, Vilayil, Kerala)