( Column 14 / 2002)

"The Lost Valleys"...by...Ron Gladkowski

          "A commentary about creative people living in the small communities scattered through the hills and valleys of Central New York"
          Published in The County Review

"Be Creative!"

          "Art is the faculty of executing well what one has devised. Art implies a personal, unanalyzable creative power."
           This definition of "Art", from the Encyclopedia Britannica Dictionary, supports my position equating art with creativity. I tend to use the word artist rather loosely, seeing it as a synonym for being creative.
          I have often heard people say: "I wish I was creative".
          My reply is: "You probably are, but don't recognize it".
          It is my view that each of us has the ability to be creative, and we use that ability regularly, sometimes without knowing it. Creativity is not limited to such fields as painting, craftwork, or performing, but can be manifested in many common activities. It is because this creativity is contained in everyday chores that often it isn't appreciated as such.
          Before you envy someone else, take a look around you, and examine the things you do well. Anytime you design or create something that is your own original concept, you are being creative. It may or may not be "Art" by arbitrary artistic standards, but, if it is done well, it is creativity. The list of skills that offer opportunities to be creative is virtually endless. Landscaping, food preparation, construction, mechanical design, home decorating, and the way you clothe yourself, are some of the everyday tasks that can offer creative opportunities.
          Copying is not creative! Replicating something that you have seen another person create, is Stealing! Doing so is Immoral! Since you are not "executing well what one has devised" you are not being creative. Even if you can do what they do, pay attention to the fact that their idea is not your's. You would have no right to take credit for it, and should not bathe in any compliments you might receive. Furthermore, should you choose to market the creative ideas of another, you ARE a criminal! The fact that these "Crimes" may not be punishable under the law doesn't absolve you of guilt.
          Once recognizing your own creative skills, try to recognize and appreciate the skill required in the work of others. Look forward to having their work becoming a part of your life, as you would like your creativity to be appreciated by others. Mutual appreciation of creativity encourages more creativity....in others, and in ourselves.

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