I have been making puppets for Grace Cha’s Korean American story that has been adapted to the puppet stage. As I put the finishing touches on two of the puppets, I start to mentally build a creative team to help bring the show to fruition. It is a lot of fun to put together creative people. Our theater is intended for people to have a place to create and have their creativity flourish. But what does creativity really mean?
I recently read a scientific description of creativity which made me uneasy. It defined creativity as “the capacity to have novel-original and useful-adaptive ideas.” I am not sure if I do a ‘creative act’ that is novel and useful every time. All I know is that I feel good when I am writing and making puppets.
The ancient Greeks were mystified by creativity that they attributed goddesses to the different forms. The goddess Calliope inspired poetry. Goddess Euterpe inspired music. Terpsichore inspired dance. Melpomene and Thalia inspired elements of drama. In recent centuries, researchers attempted to break creativity down to a science. I enjoy science, but the creativeness of a painter, sculptor, a singer, a cook, a builder, a landscaper, a journalist, novelist, a film producer, or a choreographer, in my opinion, can also be spiritual.
If science must be used to describe creativity, then the serotonin increase in the brain during creativity is applicable. If you remember high school science, serotonin is the key hormone that stabilizes mood, feelings of well-being and happiness. All in all, creativity is good for you.
I had a discussion with my sister a few years ago about the inner desire to create and what might propel people to be passionate about it 24/7. She equated it to a runner getting a “runner’s high” during a run. I found that analogy splendid. Creating does produce a surge of joy or a “creative high.”
Shana Lebowitz in her article The Scientific Reasons Why Being Creative Can Make You Happier, states that there is not a widely accepted and concrete definition of creativity. As well, her research suggests creative people are happier. Dr. Carrie Barron, co-author of The Creativity Cure says creativity applies to everything from making a meal to generating a business plan. Her article also states that experts see a strong connection between creative expression and overall wellbeing.
Whatever the definition applied to creativity, the opportunity to create generates happier people. I am all for happier people.
Silvia Gonzalez Scherer is the Executive Artistic Director and co-founder of the Hanford Multicultural Theater Company. She is also a playwright and an actress.
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