Finding Creativity in Unexpected Places

I’ll confess to a certain amount of pride in seeing that my relative’s ideas have come to life in a place with an employee bulletin board celebrating hiring anniversaries, boxes full of products awaiting shipment, and lively discussions about how best to grow the company. This place makes products that took a lot of scientific and engineering creativity to devise. And the machines that make them didn’t come from off the shelf at Acme Manufacturing Equipment. They had to be designed and custom-made to the specifications of this plant.

In short, I saw a lot of creativity in this place.

Okay, enough manufacturing. Now let’s look another field that isn’t renowned for creativity, plumbing. Last year, I wrote about my experiences as a post-Hurricane Katrina reconstruction volunteer in coastal Mississippi. Some, but not all of my fellow volunteers were employed in the construction trades. One of the professionals was a master plumber from Georgia. For the better part of a week, he and his volunteer crew worked on a real brain-twister: Re-floating a house boat.


In Janet Martin’s August 4 FreelanceSwitch article on creative activities, we read about the importance of building new creative muscles.

The end of this article included a list of five suggestions for expanding one’s creativity:

  1. Try photography
  2. Make something by sewing it or employing another craft
  3. Learn stop-motion animation
  4. Take a writing class
  5. Take a drawing class

These are very good suggestions, but, to me, they don’t go far enough. All too often, we creatives are criticized for not understanding how non-artists work. So, it’s time to break out of our artistic bubbles and explore the rest of the world. And, not to worry, there are plenty of friendly tour guides out there.

Take, for example, the manufacturing plant I visited in late July. A relative co-founded the company, and I’ve heard him talk about it for years. But I’d never been there. Now, you may be thinking that I just visited the dullest, most uncreative place on the planet. I mean, come on. A manufacturing plant. How exciting can that be? Leer más “Finding Creativity in Unexpected Places”

The Help In Black & White.

“I was labeled ‘psychologically sick,’ ‘morally senile,’ and was accused of possessing ‘a vile racist imagination,’” Styron recalled in his introduction to the 1994 Modern Library edition of the book. “The major complaint was … how dare a white man write so intimately of the black experience, even presuming to become Nat Turner by speaking in the first person?”

Forty-two years later, “The Help” (2009), a novel narrated, in large part, by African-American maids in the Deep South of the early 1960s, was published. Instead of scorn and enmity, author Kathryn Stockett, who is white, has been greeted with rapturous reviews, spectacular sales and a movie deal.

What’s the difference?




From The Chicago Tribune…

White novelist tackles truths of black life in ‘The Help

Julia Keller
Cultural Critic

The last time a white writer tried to give prolonged fictional voice to the thoughts and emotions of an oppressed black person in a major novel, the result was devastating — not for literature, which gained a profound and powerful novel titled “The Confessions of Nat Turner” (1967), but for the life of William Styron, the man who wrote it. Leer más “The Help In Black & White.”