I’ve only been handed, for the most part, two narratives in a nutshell about my own creativity, the first being– this essay is too creative–and the second–you’re not really all that creative are you?
The first assessment happened as a comment on every essay portion of every- standardized- test- ever- taken, and the second from every person who has crossed my path in life, having not yet grasped the importance of knowing self in isolation, not in comparison to others.
Identity is a tricky thing. The moment I try on an adjective the way I slip into swimsuits to see what fits best as I am packing for a beach vacation, is the moment that an identifier becomes a role. Roles constrict and require conformity, which is the least creative word in the dictionary, it seems to me.
Strive not to be creative, but to create. Strive not to be an “academic” but to think. Strive not to explain yourself to others but to know yourself in the quiet way a sparrow dips for drink. When I write a good poem, it feels more like participation in community than it does self-discovery. Even if no one reads it. And, when someone misreads me, I try to focus on their fledgling reading ability, and not the makeshift meaning they have forced themselves to accept because they’ve mispronounced my life.