What is the power of creativity to contribute a verse?
This is the ending of one of my favourite films, Dead Poet’s Society, starring Robin Williams. It was a film that defined my generation growing up, along with Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, The Breakfast Club and the like. The phrase, carpe diem, “seize the day,” was synonymous with this film.
But the power of this final scene only emerges with an understanding of a previous one. It was purloined for a recent advertising campaign by a computer company named after a piece of fruit. The ad is a complete piece of onanism but the sentiment is what I want to explore.
“We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. Medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits, and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for. To quote from Whitman: ‘O me, o life of the questions of these recurring, of the endless trains of the faithless, of cities filled with the foolish. What good amid these, o me, o life?’ Answer: that you are here. That life exists, and identity. That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse. That the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be?”
How do you contribute a verse?
Grandiose plans to change the world are good and well but I want to look closer to home.
You contribute a verse by starting small.
Start small by writing a poem in an old notebook.
Start small by writing someone a letter (a friend recently asked for her birthday for people to send her some thing in the mail using the good old fashioned postal service).
Start small by getting out a colouring book and pencils.
Start small by taking a photo a day on your camera (an intentional act of creativity).
Start small by joining a local amateur dramatic or musical society either as a chorus member, backstage crew, admin, promotion, anything. Ask.
Start small by taking an art class or a writing class.
Start small by learning an instrument.
Start small by asking, “What can I do?” to help meet a need.
You need a job to provide a living but you also need a cause to be passionate about, something you believe in.
Creativity provides that outlet.
You contribute a verse because you learned to create for yourself first. Then you understand that it can be used to help someone else. And your creativity can contribute to the job you do, the ‘noble pursuits’ mentioned above, that allows you to begin changing the world.
But you start with one person; you start with yourself. You create, make it a habit, teach others to create, inspire others to pursue their own creative path.
That is how you contribute a verse.