The Effect of Creativity

by Lucy Bolster

I love the creativity of spring, the colours shapes and movement and birdsong and I long to be able to join in with it somehow. An artist friend said to me recently that, being creative is about ‘just letting it be’ and I’ve been wondering about that. 

I am in awe of Rembrandt’s painting of the prodigal son, and Charlie Mackesey’s beautiful charcoal images. Ever since I saw it performed in Bournemouth winter gardens as a 10 year old, Bernstein’s “Rhapsody in Blue” fills me with complete joy. I’m reaching for a tissue when I listen to poetry from pretty much any source. (Wasn’t Amanda Gorman astonishingly brilliant at Biden’s inauguration?)

How awesome to ‘just create’ these incredible works. I do know though, that there are hours, days and years of preparation behind them.  Sometimes, these pieces of art make me feel a bit inadequate even at the same time as bringing enjoyment. How could I begin to ‘just be’ anything like that?

However, it’s different when I read some of the ‘songs’ in the Bible. I think of Miriam’s song of freedom in Exodus 15. I imagine that her spontaneous timbrel playing dance alongside the other women, was much less genteel and carefully crafted than it appears on the page. I’m thinking energy, unpredictability, shouting, whooping and movement… less La-la land and more West Side Story. 

And…. Mary’s song of justice in Luke. She must have spoken or burst into song with passion and purpose in her response to Elizabeth. Malala Yousafzai comes to mind or Greta T, or maybe a powerful Nina Simone type voice scatting on themes of God’s hope and justice for all people?

The effect of this spontaneous creativity, is invitation. I sense an invitation to us here and now to join in with the creative act itself, without inhibitions. Perhaps we can be free from having to get it right, because it’s not about us, it’s about responding to something wholly good and deeply wonderful. Some people might call that God. 

When I was little, I used to create ‘noon songs’ a sort of sung equivalent of doodling, containing scraps of story, playfulness, and a lot of ridiculous drama! I look back on them now, trying to inhabit my younger uninhibited self and wonder if this child-likeness is a bit like the outbursts of those biblical characters?  So, in the spirit of ‘just letting it be’ here goes a little bit of ‘noon song’ (you can make up your own tune!)

Find within you a song, which breathes life,
To the whole of life, 
an outgoing sigh of permission
for us to be now in whatever movement we find ourselves in
and improvise, with grace-notes of hope,
a nurturing melody.
A co-creative, caution-free, un-curated offering,
For all those who have ears to hear, eyes to see, and anything to offer
To the dance.