The other day someone referred to me as “creative”, and that got me thinking. Most of the time, I’m grateful for my imagination. It’s gotten me through many a meeting without having to spike my ubiquitous water bottle with something clear, strong and illegal in Utah. But it’s also responsible for such weird quirks as my never falling asleep in the passenger seat of a moving car without first envisioning in great detail what would happen instantly to my body upon our vehicle’s impact with another car — as if being awake to witness an accident would help all that much. So, yes, sometimes I’d like to drag my imagination outside and drop it off a cliff. I can just picture it: the mischievous little sprite crying and begging for mercy as I dangle it further over the abyss, all the while — see? There it goes again.
Despite my all-too-active imagination, however, I don’t consider myself particularly creative. Creative types wear flashy colors and dye their hair and spout weird poetry even they don’t understand. They can paint elaborate forest scenes with the brush held between their toes and weave blankets incorporating native styles from around the world. They are geniuses, whereas I feel merely adequate.
“Oh, but you write,” people tell me when I disclose such thoughts. “You must be creative to make up all that stuff.”
But I’m not so sure. It feels as if my task as a writer is not to create characters, plot, and dialogue, but to leave myself open to them. The characters (or Dolores, my cranky muse) then tell me what to type.
The secret is out: I don’t write. I take dictation. And how creative is that?