Our Soul Matters theme for the month of May is “Creativity.”
Creativity is often thought of as the province of a lonely genius working in splendid isolation, perhaps starving somewhere in an unheated artist’s garret. But in my experience genuine creative work is more often the product of collaboration, in which several different perspectives enrich and inform and critique one another, and partners work together to shape possibilities into new forms. Creativity flourishes when teams are free to brainstorm ideas without judgment.
I cherish those times and value those teams with whom I can ‘think out loud,’ knowing and accepting that most of what emerges in our brainstorming sessions will end up ‘on the cutting room floor.’ Paradoxically, the act of creation involves knowing what to eliminate as well as what to include. Michelangelo supposedly said of his sculptural creations that the work of art is always already there, sleeping in the stone; it is only waiting to be released by the artist’s chisel.
Certainly, there are times when the artist — and we are all artists of one kind or another — must turn within to incubate an idea in solitude. We should encourage and cultivate such times of inner creative gestation. Everyone needs “a room of their own” in which to germinate and brood over the tender shoots of personal creativity.
But we also need to recognize and support the people and the places where we can be creative together — the laboratories, workshops, and studios where solutions can bubble up and sparks can fly, where we can borrow tools and solicit opinions from our neighbors on the workbench. Even the fiercely competitive fashion designers on the popular television series “Project Runway” manage to borrow creative ideas –along with scissors and pins — from one another!
One of the places where creativity can be cultivated in our Fellowship is on the Sunday Services and Music Team. We are already looking ahead to planning services for the ‘program year’ beginning next September. If you have ideas about a topic or a possible presenter, and especially if you’d like to be a part of the creative process of dreaming, designing, developing, and delivering a service, I’d love to hear from you!
Creativity flourishes in groups, and the UU Fellowship of La Crosse aspires to be a community where creativity takes root and grows, a place where all are welcome to cultivate the spirit of justice, peace, beauty, and love.
In good faith and fellowship,