10 Things I know About…Creativity

by Pamela Travers – author, Mary Poppins.  (“There are no answers, only questions.”)

  1. The Unknown — our beautiful Anglo-Saxon word, intimate, reverberant, profound, not so much to be understood as stood under while it rains upon us — that is something I could live with and, indeed, have revered, cherished, and tried to serve for many a year and day.
  2. Call it the Unknown and one can conceive of the creative process as being a next door neighbor to it.
  3. C.S Lewis, in a letter to a friend, says, “There is only one Creator and we merely mix the elements he gives us” — a statement less simple than it seems.  For that “mere mixing” while making it impossible for us to say “I myself am the maker”, also shows us our essential place in the process.  
  4. Elements among elements we [writers and artists] are there to shape, order, define, and in doing this we, reciprocally, are defined and shaped and ordered.  The potter, molding the receptive clay, is himself being molded.
  5. Stories are like birds flying, here and gone in a moment.
  6. With that word “creative”, when applied to any human endeavour, we stand under a mystery.  
  7. From time to time that mystery, as if it were a sun, sends down upon one head or another, a sudden shaft of light — by grace one feels, rather than deserving — for it always comes as something given, free, unsought, unexpected.  
  8. There are no answers, only questions. 
  9. It is useless, possibly even profane, to ask for explanations.
  10. Somehow, somewhere, the Unknown is known, perhaps – who can say? – to the wild bee!


[Adapted from “The Interviewer” in Creators on Creating: Awakening and Cultivating the Imaginative Mind.        Frank Barron, et. al.  A New Consciousness Reader.  Penguin, 1997]

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