Editor's Thoughts: Creativity: A Soul-Sparking Play

*** Editor’s Thoughts ***




 Jana Begovic


Almost all creativity involves purposeful play. -Abraham Maslow


Throughout the ages, creativity has been the subject of discussion of numerous philosophers, such as Plato and Aristotle, psychologists and psychiatrists, such as Freud, Jung and Maslow, as well as literary historians.

The beginnings of the philosophical thought in Greece and India linked creativity to the divine. According to Plato, creativity is the muse-inspired product, and without muses and their influence, there would be no art. It was only as of the Renaissance that humans were affirmed as creators who did not need God’s patronage.

Imagination has always had a significant place in the understanding of the creative process. It is a boundless, untamed and magical force that creates new, dream-like worlds, worlds that at the same time feel real. It fuels the creative process, which itself lies on a continuum of unconscious, semi-conscious or conscious processes.

According to Jung, a creatively endowed individual does not decide whether he will create or not, rather he feels compelled to act creatively. That individual is held captive by the mysterious and yet natural creative power that simply exists and is hard to resist.

 How we write and respond to the creative spark, and how we view our own creative process is as individual as the works we produce. While some writers plan out their plots and characters in broad strokes or in minute details and remain mostly in control of their story throughout the birthing process of their work, others claim to only exercise partial control over the storyline allowing their characters to decide on the twists and turns of plots. I belong to the latter kind and, at the same time, recognize that there may be many writers who do not fit either category, falling somewhere in the middle of the spectrum.

My own writing process feels like an encounter with the mysterious and the divine. Where does this inspiration come from? Why did this character decide not to go on this trip when I had clearly expected she would? Why would she reveal such a deep secret to her husband and risk her marriage? These are some of the rhetorical questions I have asked of myself. Or, when the inspiration would ebb, and the storytelling would come to a screeching halt, how did I know I should just let the story ferment and simmer in my sub-conscious mind and the well of creativity would start bubbling anew?  

Mining our souls for the creative treasures they hide gives us a vast playground. When writing is considered not only as a divine spark, but also as play, the frustrations of writer’s block diminish or vanish, and we begin to write for the sheer joy and exhilaration of honouring the divine spark in us, and our instinct for play. In those moments, we think less about the frustrations of marketing our work tending to accept rejections with more equanimity, as well as the facts of the publishing game that only a small percentage of authors actually strike gold and garner mega success.  

By engaging in this magical and the mysterious process writers, each in his/her singular way, continue to carry the torch of the fire Prometheus stole from the gods to give humans the creative spark.  

Jana Begovic is Guest Editor of Ariel Chart.


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