Creative Expression to Collectively Open Minds

My soon-to-be four year old granddaughter refuses to try to color in the lines. She hates coloring books, but loves to draw and paint freehand. These are birds flying in the air:

Her daddy is an artist and these are a few of his works:

Misha Burnett did a post today that got me thinking about art, music and writing….mostly creativity, whether traditionally or independently produced.

Take art.

Jackson Pollock, Picasso and Rembrandt. All three different styles. All three with their own audience…all styles that were copied.

There are those who swear only their preferred style of art is worthy. Yet there are those art critics who can appreciate the variety of all three.  It is the unique expression of creativity from the soul that makes them worthy.

Take music.

Again, tastes vary tremendously. The people who enjoyed this:

Often Detested This:

And many who loved this:

Thought this was absurd:

Yet they all have had an audience. Many can appreciate all forms of music.

It’s all good. Influential artistry.
It demonstrates our collective creativity.

Now, more than ever, writers have an opportunity to express their creativity.

Dare to be Different!

Writing is like art and music. Along with specific genre choices, people develop an expectation of what is acceptable to them regarding writing style, content, voice, person, POV, execution techniques, formatting choices. When we deviate from that which is expected, we break out of a traditional mold and become creative. Breaking from tradition always carries risks. But, is creativity a bad thing or a good thing? I personally believe creativity is an awesome thing, a powerfully liberating thing…provided the artist, in this case the writer, can attract the right audience. Find your audience.

There are always going to be critics who don’t like your work. It is written in the “wrong” person, the prose is too flowery, the characters didn’t develop “properly”, and the ending was not satisfying. I have been reading reviews of great classics and people are making the same complaints about them as they are contemporary works, because everyone is a master in their own mind.

Industry standards are often creativity killers.

Be your own master.

Don’t be an industrial slave unless you choose to be.

Write what you are passionate about. Write how you feel it. Write in the way that is comfortable to you. Write what comes naturally. Don’t force your writing into a mold.

Sure, edit properly. Follow the rules that govern language and grammar, but don’t be afraid to deviate. Don’t be afraid to be creative. Sing your own song. Color outside the lines if it pleases you.

Can you think of books that opened your mind that were written differently than the traditional novel?

“The Color Purple” by Alice Walker, Pulitzer Prize winner, comes to mind.

Ursula K. Le Guin challenged the world with her mix of fantasy and sci-fi at a time when to deviate was simply unacceptable.

“The Book Theif” by Markus-Zusak, published by Random House, is an historical fiction that was narrated by Death, and is a book for teens and adults, with nearly 8000 positive reviews.

42 thoughts on “Creative Expression to Collectively Open Minds

  1. I’ve read lots of memoir this past year, but 3 with distinctively different writing styles come to mind: A Girl Named Zippy by Haven Kimmell, One Hundred Names for Love by Diane Ackerman, and one I’m reading now: Swimming with Maya: A Mother’s Story by Eleanor Vincent. Great topic-great post!

  2. What an amazing post – I couldn’t agree more. From the time my boys were old enough to understand, we’ve discussed how boring the world would be if everyone and everything in it were the same.

  3. I can’t think of anything specific, but art is definitely in the eye of the beholder. I keep thinking of art exhibits where it’s garbage put in interesting positions or that one called ‘Bodies’. Some find it creepy while others think it’s great.

  4. Catcher in the Rye comes to mind. I couldn’t get past page three when I tried to read it recently. The sentences were so long and mind boggling I wanted to be anywhere but in that book. I’m not knocking the writer. After all his writing has survived all these years and this book is a classic–I actually saw an original copy in a bookstore and the book was priced at some wild sum—but I can’t read it, although I will try again.

  5. The Art of Racing in the Rain was narrated by a dog. Fascinating and well-written book. Doesn’t hold a candle to The Book Thief, though. I don’t think I’ve ever read anything like that. As four your grand-daughter, just give her blank paper. Lines don’t matter. One of my girls is dyslexic and extremely creative. When she was about 4, She nearly got in a fight with a kid who called her picture ‘scribble-scrabble’. I love that moxie in a creative.

    • narrated by a dog is different, and creative.
      Some things just don’t fit in a box.

      I love it when kids insist on being creatively different. When they can value themselves even if they aren’t quite like their peers.

      Even the tattoos and piercings are signatures of unique personalities, whether I would want one for myself or not.

  6. Wonderful post. I love the three books/authors you mentioned. I suppose at different times in my life, certain books, music, and art have spoken to me in a way that perhaps they would not have at a different stage in my life. Just one example–reading Anne Frank’s Diary as a teen and then reading it again as a mother (and historian) are such different experiences. As far as recent books with an usual writing style, Hilary Mantel’s novels about Thomas Cromwell, Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies, are written in a sort of odd style. It took me a few pages to get into it, but once I did, I loved the both books.

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