Creativity is an interesting thing because nobody can really tell another person how to be creative. Many people have told me that they are not creative at all, but I don’t believe them. Some people express their creativity more than others, while many people prefer to think of themselves as analytical thinkers. But all of us have creative imagination as well as the ability to think logically. I think that creativity is intrinsically a part of every human being as much as the capacity to love.
Many people don’t develop their creative faculty, or they lose touch with it because they are not encouraged to use it. Although I have always written poetry and/or kept a journal, I put less effort into it in the time when my office job consumed most of my time and energy. The most useful advice I got to help me actually start writing fiction, something I had dreamed of doing for 14 years before I started, was from reading interviews with established authors like Neil Gaiman and Paulo Coelho. I learned that an author doesn’t need to have everything exactly worked out before starting to write, and that the unconscious is a valuable tool. Having gathered enough courage and filled to the brim with frustration with my circumstances, I started writing without really knowing what I was doing. What emerged was at times unexpected, and it intrigued me.
The creative process is fluid, and reflecting on it I cannot say that I truly know what the relationship between me, the story and the characters is. I used to think that an author invented a story, and for me the idea was a barrier as I felt that it was too difficult to think of something as brilliant as some of the stories I have read. Things changed when I asked for a story, and met the characters in another realm, and asked them to tell me their story. In that way, something sincere started to unfold. Rather than achieving something, I felt that my first novel, In Search of the Golden City, was a journey through which I learned a lot about myself and my personal path. The creative process is all the more spell-binding when I work with it even though I don’t understand it.
As an artist, when I create something, it doesn’t always come out as planned. What I create has a will of its own, and the process is most powerful when I allow that will to come through me. In that sense, I don’t feel like a creator at all, rather an instrument. Although my characters are sometimes in conflict with one another, they are part of the same story, and they learn from one another since each expresses an aspect of something that is buried within me.
Suppose then, we wove our own stories through the universe as a work of art, what would our relationship with the Creator be? I think that question is as open for interpretation as the one of what my relationship with the characters in the stories I write is. In my opinion, the conventional idea of intelligent design falls short when it advocates a creator that made the universe a long time ago but is essentially separate from it. The idea of accident without purpose doesn’t ring true either. Without pretending to know anything, I could imagine that we are all part of the same dream, and that each person or thing is an aspect of the dream. As we live, we could strive towards creating bright, powerful stories with the full magic of being a facet of a glorious and unfathomable dream. Or we could play a part in a dull story directed by those who deny the spectacular life force, if we believe in their power rather than our own.