Have you considered the problem of creativity?

Happy Creativity week Bliss Enthusiasts!

This weekend I was in San Francisco. Not a supremely amazing event, since we live only an hour away, but some how, every time we go it becomes a highly creative adventure. Whenever we are there it feels as if we are different people. My Sweetie and I remember what it was like when we lived there, even The Girl, our four year old daughter, gets nostalgic and asks to drive by the house she lived in when she was an itty bitty baby. This time our visit was influenced by my husband’s recent trip to France. We pretended we were in France, dining in open air cafes and wandering through the streets arm in arm. Generally a coffee gal I even switched to espresso for the occasion. It was fun!

While strolling through the farmers market, we happened upon Zach Houston. Some of you may recall I ran into him last year. He is this very interesting guy who makes a living writing poetry which he bangs out on his typewriter as you wait. You pick the price and a topic!  On this occasion I asked for a twelve dollar poem on Creativity and Bliss (Read last year’s $8 poem on Humility here). I thought it would be a fun way to start creativity week.

$12 Poem on Creativity and Bliss by Zach Houston


its actually the distraction
where it happens the second not
what i was talking about but i said
it happened anyway we are going its
as stein said behind us not the prime
concern image number text all we have
to work with the art world is for of
all human endeavor the only one we
get to make up the problem for
our only one solution to
what we don't know focus

Before we were done with my poem transaction, Zach  asked me to consider that when dealing with creativity most things already come with problems but ART is the one thing in which you have to create the problem. I thought this was an interesting inquiry.

We certainly hear a lot about using creativity to SOLVE problems but I hadn’t thought about using creativity to make them.

Then as things like this often happen, I was looking for some quotes on creativity came across this from Anton Chekhov “You confuse two things: solving a problem and stating a problem correctly. It is only the second that is obligatory for an artist.

by Brian Dettmer

I really hadn’t thought of art in terms of problems, made or stated correctly, which makes me think I have missed a great deal of nuance in my appreciation. Now if I take a closer look at The Book Surgeon, Brian Dettmer’s work I can definitely see many of the problems he had to create before he could even get to the creativity of solving them.

We’ve all heard the story of Michaelangelo talking about David in which he was asked how he did it and he replied “It was easy, I just took away everything that was not David.”  The “problem” of “removing everything not David” was stated in the best possible way for Michaelangelo to create his masterpiece. Perhaps when art “fails” (subjective of, and by the artist) for the artist creating it, it is only a matter of not creating the right problem.

Looking at things this way makes me eager to revisit some of my artistic flops. In many cases I dive in enjoying the process, usually enjoyable and sometimes messy but I get disheartened when I am not happy with the results. When this happens in the future I will take a moment to see if I can create a good enough problem to get the result I would like!

How about you? Considering any creative problem making?


Come back tomorrow for a Lisa of Life Unity’s guest post on the topic.

Creativity never felt lighter!


2 thoughts on “Have you considered the problem of creativity?

  1. Zach sounds like an amazing character! How fitting that you incorporated his story and poem during creativity week AND National Poetry Month! Theresa

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *