Sunday Snaps: Perspectives on Creativity

Do you agree with this quote?

“To be creative means to be in love with life. You can be creative only if you love life enough that you want to enhance its beauty, you want to bring a little more music to it, a little more poetry to it, a little more dance to it.”
~ Osho

But then, what of the following quote? Can a person who is low in spirit also be in love with life and create anything worthwhile?

“Our sweetest songs are those that tell of saddest thought.”
Percy Bysshe Shelley

Many have theorized that there may be a correlation between sadness and creativity. Great talents such as Van Gogh and Virginia Woolf come to mind. The romantic poets described suffering as a precondition to writing anything of literary merit.

Angst has a creative upside! That said, I believe joy, heartache, or any strong emotion can stimulate creativity, just as one’s mindset can influence the mood of an artistic piece.

To look through the lens of a somber, troubled mind, one may imbue his or her own state of melancholy onto the subject. . .

Black and white image of Anglican church in Newtown, Newfoundland

. . . whereas, if the emotional perspective and attitude is lighthearted or happy, one might frame it in an entirely different light.

Anglican church in Newtown, Newfoundland framed by an outdoor bench in winter

Sadness and happiness are simply two sides of the creative coin.

43 thoughts on “Sunday Snaps: Perspectives on Creativity

  1. I think it’s a little bit of both depending on who you are. Some people want to make the world more beautiful with their artistic contributions, but others use their pain to put out great work. For me sometimes it’s the second, but other times there is just a story that needs to get out. I am generally wanting my work to help someone, anyone in some way, but does that necessarily count as the first?

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    1. Wanting to help readers is what drives many of us, that’s true, and that can come as a result of having lived through challenging events. So yes, out of sadness or discord, many a writer has been duly inspired. I see the urge for self-expression coming from any strong emotion.
      Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to contribute with a comment!

      Like

  2. I believe there is so much more to creativity than people think. My husband is an engineer. He thinks very analytically and doesn’t think he’s very creative, but my God, the things he can come up with! It’s just not the same kind of stuff I come up with.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for adding your two cents worth. Of course I agree that your husband is creative. You remind me of my own spouse whose field is architecture. Without creative thought, I’m sure their work would suffer greatly.
      Please drop by again! 🙂

      Like

  3. What an interesting post, Jennifer. I’ve been thinking about creativity lately as a human need over a choice. Creativity can take many shapes – the arts, cooking, designing a home, or assembling a wardrobe – but I think we are driven to it. I think, sometimes it is an expression of joy and sometimes pain. I will add that writing, for me, is enhanced by attention to the poignancy of life, the love and pain, its sweetness and hardness, and I hope that the combination adds depth to my work. Phew. Sorry to get all deep on you! Ha ha. Great question!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Creativity as a need. I love that! And yes, it takes many shapes, for sure. I think of us as children, when our days were filled with creative outlets—making up plays and dances; drawing pictures, writing stories, and stapling them together to make books (or was that just me?); building sandcastles; scrapbooking about horses. It’s a pity that so many lose that creative edge as they grow up. Retaining a childlike wonder with the world around you might be the answer.
      Thank you, Diana! I like your take on it that the poignancy of life adds depth to our creations.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Well done! I always kind of wondered how writers who are really depressed or unhappy can sit down and pen their thoughts. For me, that is when I hide from my stories. I need to be in a good space to write. On the other hand, there are times I remember when I wrote poems because nothing else could lift my spirits. So I think you’re right. Creativity is born from emotions, whether happy or sad.

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    1. Pam, you are echoing my thoughts exactly. When we are worried over stuff, distracted, or in despair, it’s so-o-o hard to write. I cannot wait for better times, so focus can return to our lives, and our passions, as they were before.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Jennifer, a beautiful post with in-depth reflection about creativity. Like you, I believe that ‘Sadness and happiness are simply two sides of the creative coin’. What I’ve found is that in the middle ground there is little energy for the creative spirit … I think we have to live with the polar swings, embrace the light and dark and beaver away at our creative craft. When things are in between this is the time to edit, correct, do the craft ‘housework’.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you, Annika. Creativity has been very much on my mind over the past year. I don’t pretend to have all the answers and was mainly throwing the topic out for feedback. I agree that the middle ground is the ideal time for editing and such (I love editing 🙂 ), and we have to take advantage of the creative swings whenever they arise—and whatever mood or feeling that may have inspired them! xx

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi Jennifer – this is a great post. I think creativity comes from both extremes, but I try not to be too dark in what I read and how I think. Still, the books that move me the most are the ones with complicated emotions, which tend to be more on the down side. I like to see how people emerge from these feelings. Thanks for sharing – love that outdoor frame!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Hi Barb, we have two of those frame-benches here in Newtown, new additions this past year. I love them too!

      A good book has to have conflict, as you know, otherwise you’d be bored to death. Complicated emotions are my favourite. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I like to see things in a more optimistic way, but it probably depends on the individual as to what motivates their creativity… Great post and discussion Jennifer!

    Liked by 3 people

  8. You bring up some interesting questions and issues. I’m not sure if there are any consistent answers. Van Gogh, for instance, was perfectly stable for many, many days of his life. He painted beautiful pictures both when he was stable and when he was troubled.

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    1. It’s a deep topic, and I agree there are probably no consistent answers when it comes to the genius of a truly creative soul. I adore Van Gogh’s art, and wish I had it in every room of my house. Such a talent. Thanks, Neil.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Jennifer – you have asked a brilliant question – one that I have been considering over the past few years. We know that Vincent Van Gogh, Edward Munch, and Francisco de Goya, amongst others, had issues with mental health. If they had access to the knowledge and medication available today, would their art be as profound or ignite a longing in the souls? Creativity demands an inner conversation before their is outward demonstration. I have found inner conversations are the most difficult in which to engage. A wonderful post and follow-up discussion.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Hi Rebecca. You raise a good point concerning mental health. I would also add that a depressive state is not often conducive to creativity, but the in-between highs and lows could very well be. As for inner conversations, you remind me of the journals that Ayn Rand kept before she wrote Atlas Shrugged. Without the journals, she would not have had the same access to her thought processes and ideas, from which the book was drawn. Interesting, to say the least!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I agree wholeheartedly – interesting indeed and something that I will think on in the coming week. I especially appreciate this quote by Vincent Van Gogh ““Though I am often in the depths of misery, there is still calmness, pure harmony and music inside me.” This is such a wonderfully hopeful thought.

        Liked by 3 people

        1. What a quote! Thanks for sharing. In defence of my point, sadness and misery are strong emotions whereas depression is a flattening of feeling and purpose. Hard to produce anything of value there. But it is in the between periods a depressive person can create, and like Van Gogh, very well. A visually artistic genius.

          Liked by 1 person

  10. I agree, creative individuals tend to have strong emotions, whether they be happy or sad. Some extremely creative people have been tortured souls, while others have been in love with life. Your last quote is excellent.

    Liked by 4 people

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