Monday, June 2, 2008

Letting the juices flow

So what is it that triggers creativity?
Can the artist just step into her studio at 9 a.m. and immediately begin to paint the masterpiece of the century?
How about the composer? When he sits at the piano, do the heavenly melodies and mysterious harmonies just flow automatically?
Or the author? Does the most intricate plot invent itself, or the perfect word spring to mind unbidden?

I doubt it.
2% inspiration, 98% perspiration, they say.
But that seems to leave out the supernatural spark that wakens you at 2 a.m., or the perfect chord progression that just won't stop playing on repeat in your mind.
Back to the first question: What is it that triggers such supernatural events?
Let's examine a bit of theology.
1. God is Creator.
2. We are made in His image.
Therefore, 3. We have a creative bent, by His design. All of us.
Do you always feel wonderfully creative? Or is the menu sometimes K. D. because you can't think of anything more exciting?
Do we have any part in being struck by the muse?
I dare say we do, although I probably haven't intentionally tried to think about it before.
For one thing, I bet it doesn't hurt a guy like Michelangelo to visit an art gallery. Or a gal like Elizabeth Barrett Browning to sit down with a book of poetry. Immersing yourself in the beauty of others is bound to stir up your own ability to make beauty. Musicians learn the works of the old masters. Actors study Shakespeare.

But I think it goes farther than that. It doesn't have to be in your particular area of artistry. I expect Mozart could have been inspired by the painting of his contemporaries as much as the music of his peers. The beauty of a sunset can inspire a poet or composer as much as a painter.
It is all beauty. It all comes from the source of all beauty. It all is a response to being confronted with creation.
So, listen to creative music. Don't be satisfied with derivative stuff, remakes of tired old tunes. Don't be scared of styles you haven't heard before.
Dare to be exposed to edgy artwork. Not the cookie-cutter fluff, but stuff that is really out there.
Look for authors who challenge your senses, who force you to find a dictionary now and then, who invent new plots and turns of phrase, who challenge your pre-conceptions.
See things with new eyes. New ears. New taste buds.
Visit the Creator in His workshop.
Check out what others have created while hanging out with Him. Plan on being surprised. Inspired. Maybe even changed.
This all came as I was listening to some edgy, creative, inspired, prophetic worship. I began to realize that not only was I being drawn into the presence of God, but His Spirit was beginning to motivate and inform my spirit. The Creator was provoking the created to create. Try it sometime!

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