You have less control over your environment and the environment in which your children grow than you think. The variables are infinite. For two weeks I’m writing about Creativity’s Terrain and the variables you can control. Yesterday I wrote about Writing.
If people would ask me when I began to dance I reply, ‘In my mother’s womb, probably as a result of the oysters and champagne–the food of Aphrodite.’
Isadora knew in her deepest core she would dance, always. But by age 7 she despised ballet and classic dances. She says,
The dominant note of my childhood was the constant spirit of revolt against the narrowness of the society in which we lived, against the limitations of life and a growing desire to fly [to] something I imagined might be broader.
A voracious reader, at 18, Isadora got a first chance to dance her way by convincing a prominent 1895 New York theater manager she would create a dance expressing America, for children. She said to him,
I am indeed the spiritual daughter of Walt Whitman… I bring to your theater the vital sound that it lacks, the soul of the dancer. For, you know,”
The man said,
That’s quite enough!
But she marched on,
The birth of the theater was the dance, and the first actor was the dancer…and until the dancer in all his spontaneous great art returns to the theater, your theater will not live in its truest expression!
She got a part in a pantomime.
Many years later, a 4th grader and future Professor, Randy Pausch, made the following list of things he wanted to achieve:
Being in zero gravity
Playing in the NFL
Authoring an article in the World Book encyclopedia
Being Captain Kirk
Winning Stuffed animals
Being a Disney Imagineer
In his famous Last Lecture, Pausch tells how he achieved his childhood dream list.
The father of Creativity scholarship, E. Paul Torrance, found children, with clear ideas of what they loved to do and happy dreams of what they wanted to become, turned out to live rich Creative lives. Torrance said,
As a matter of fact, this indicator (having or not having a future image that they were in love with) was a better predictor of adult creative achievement than indexes of scholastic promise and attainment in school.
Not every child is so perspicacious regarding her future.
Writer Willa Cather reclaimed her Creativity when, as a grown woman, she stopped admiring and started remembering.
Within your childhood joys and dabbles is the seed of your Creative truth.