Creativity as an Adventure of the Soul

Every production of an artist should be the expression of an adventure of his soul – Somerset Maugham

 Recently I watched my five year old daughter wander around the house and out in the backyard the other day with a piece of scrap paper, an off cut from the end of a roll of boys’ birthday wrapping paper. On it she had drawn some rudimentary marks, but she was pretending it was a map.

She was on an adventure that only a five year old can imagine, making it up as she went along. And it was beautiful to watch her creativity take her on an adventure (personally, I think Dora the Explorer has a lot to answer for).

What does it mean to have an adventure of the soul in regards to creativity?

An adventure of the soul is an exploration of what it means to be human.

It explores what it means to love,

to hope,

to have faith,

to cry,

to be offended,

to be outraged,

to burn with passionate desire,

to understand sorrow and pain,

to know joy,

to experience the breadth and depth of human emotion.

An adventure of the soul gives the creative person purpose and meaning. It means we come to a greater understanding of one another.

Every writer, artist, musician or filmmaker, every creative person, is an explorer.

Every creation and every piece of work is a reflection of his or her physical, emotional, mental, spiritual, political or philosophical journey.

It may be a personal reflection, a cathartic exposition that no one ever sees; a hidden testament.

It may be created for a broader audience, a mirror held up to society or a cairn that says, “Remember.”

To create, to express our understanding, we must first undertake the journey.

Sometimes we go willingly, eager to explore.

Sometimes we are directed by circumstance or situation and must go unprepared.

Sometimes it’s through familiar grounds, places well worn and trodden, well kept and maintained.

Yet in the familiar there can be revelations. Sometimes we see the familiar from a different perspective and capture a new thought: a simple piece of wrapping paper, a child’s embrace, the giving of a gift, the colour of the flowers in the vase as they fade.

Have you ever walked the same way, or driven the same route on a regular basis, only to notice the house along the street is now no longer? And then you try to remember what it looked like, what was there.

Sometimes it’s through unexplored territory.

When we are in unfamiliar and unexplored territory, everything is new, almost too much to take in and comprehend. We take notes, file away information, pictures for slide nights. It takes time for our minds to absorb new information, to meditate and compost and percolate until such time the idea is ready to germinate, break forth and be birthed into the world.

Sometimes the adventure takes us into the Valley of the Shadow of Death. Yet even in the dark places, sustenance can be found.

“It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out of your door,” he used to say. “You step into the Road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there is no knowing where you might be swept off to.” Frodo quoting Bilbo Baggins, The Lord of the Rings – The Fellowship of the Ring

The creative person makes the journey a learning experience.

The creative person makes it an adventure.

The creative person knows and understands what it is to be human.

And then lets others in on the secret.

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6 responses to “Creativity as an Adventure of the Soul

  1. Beautiful. I especially love the last line. How fortunate we all are, but may not realise 🙂

  2. I recently read the submissions guidelines for a flash fiction publication and one of the editor’s chief moans was the staggering proliferation of suicide and serial killer stories – she noted their uptick was perfectly timed with the Global Financial Crisis.

    Merely submitting to your circumstances is not an adventure – that’s just floating downstream with all the other detritus.

    Kids don’t care about the facts, the details, or even reality – they have, and use, imagination. They have adventures.

    A true adventure creates a new path into uncharted territory – we create something.

    Even when describing the human condition we can be inventive, creative and hopeful.

    We don’t need to report the end of the world, one death at a time, but fight for our survival one amazing life at a time.

    Thanks for your inspiring article, Adam. You rock, as always..

    • Great thoughts, Deane. Let’s celebrate the amazing aspects of people’s lives, mourn the unnecessary deaths, and find a way to bring hope to people.

  3. …And apologies for our combination murder/suicide stories replete with magical negro tropes. At least I ranted from personal failings. Does the fact that my protagonist is redeemed carry any water?

    Adam’s right – we must be the change we want to see in the world – and since those who tell the stories rule the world, it falls to creative people to produce the answers in our chosen mediums.

  4. Pingback: Rus VanWestervelt » Best Blog Writing on Creativity And The Arts: My 2012 Review

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