I asked the above question last week, and I’d love to see your answers this week, because this is the other side of creativity. The viewer/reader/listener/participator experience.
I review books that I enjoy on my blog every Wednesday. I had a broad range of interests, and can enjoy most books that have a clear narrative (and the occasional exception, but I’m in it for the story). Your reaction to the authors and books I profile might be different though. If you’re in it for the characters and I profile a story that uses incidental characters to paint a picture of a place or event, that book might not tickle your fancy. Or you might adore a book that I found not worth the time to read, or even offensive.
That’s subjectivity. That’s what we bring to the table each time we participate in any activity, but especially activities that require we engage our own creativity or imagination.
Have you ever walked out of a movie arguing with the folks you went with over whether it was good, what was the most compelling part, what character drew your attention?
Same with discussing a book. I have two that pop to mind instantly, cases where I think the main character failed to learn from his and her circumstances and take the chance to become a better person. However, these are books adored by thousands.
Culinary experiences also play on the unique nature of each person. I recently went gluten free on doctor’s orders, and discovered a whole world of new, fascinating tastes. I tried to encourage my husband to do the same, and he refused on the grounds that what I find complex and intriguing he finds graining and disgusting.
We are called upon to exercise our subjectivity every moment of every day. Each decision we make is driven, in part, by that subjectivity, and whether or not we enjoy the results of decisions pressed upon us is also tied into that.
So, I ask the same question:
Did all the flowers trigger the same reaction?
Did some draw your attention?
Did some fail to do so?
Did some awe and inspire?
Did some intimidate?
All those are unique emotional reactions, and every single reaction is valid, even if the reactions of the next person were different or contradictory.
We are not all cut from the same cloth, and even those who are, one person incorporates the selvage, another was cut on the bias (I hope people know enough about sewing to get the metaphor). We may look the same from the outside, wear the same pattern of experiences, but even walking lockstep through life doesn’t guarantee the same pleasures and peeves.
This is why talking to people, sharing something as simple as a line drawing or doodle, is fascinating to me. It’s not about right and wrong. It’s about exploration and understanding that each of us represents a tiny part of the possible. Exploring other cultures, whether that of your next-door neighbor or someone in another part of the world, helps us learn to understand and value difference. It doesn’t change who we are, not at the root at least, but it does make us more receptive and aware that when someone says flower, not everyone sees a daisy, and that’s the space where creativity, imagination, and possibility reside.
Go forth and share your creative vision, but be open to looking through someone else’s eyes as well. Accept what bugs you doesn’t bug everyone, accept what delights you doesn’t delight everyone, but odds are some commonality can be found, enough commonality to allow for the acceptance, and celebration, of the differences.
Though not intended as an illustration of my point, though it was to provide an illustration, I drew the second flower on the same page as my original. This time, though, I snapped a picture with my cellphone instead of putting it in the scanner. Not only is it a different flower, but the lighting has changed so dramatically that a mellow brownish paper turned gray. Consider the paper the world, and the scanner and the cellphone as different people looking at the exact same thing…but seeing something different in very major ways.
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