Women growing older with grace and gusto

What is “creative”?

When I shared my last blog post about some amazing creative Hollywood nonagenarians, my friend and collaborator Lynne commented asking what counts as “creative”.

For me, it’s a really wide definition, but more on that in a minute.

Many Pilgrim’s Moon readers are wonderfully creative in the classic sense: artists, poets, crafters, dancers, writers, cooks, gardeners. I would name some of you here but I don’t want to leave anyone out!

But… what of those who build businesses, who parent or grandparent amazing kids, who keep a warm, welcoming home, who are fierce friends? Maybe you can throw together an outfit in an unusual way, or maybe you’re that quiet work colleague everyone underestimates until you move to a new job and everything falls apart.

There are creative teachers and rote teachers. There are medical staff who minister to the whole human, and there are those who think of the human body as a machine with parts that need fixing. There are public servants and politicians who go against the grain of our cynicism, and there are the others.

Can you learn to be creative?

Can you learn to be creative? My answer to that is no. You are already innately creative, we all are, it is the expression of it and our self-confidence that are the variables.

The better question is: how can you learn to express your creative gifts?

Learning together?

Getting older is a strange animal, don’t you think? Often we feel more confident, but there are sticking points. Having the confidence to live more creatively can be one of them.

One book I’ve found very helpful so far is Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way. Many of you will be familiar with it (it’s the Morning Pages” book). It follows a 12-week format and I have to confess I’ve never finished the full twelve weeks.

I have the germ of an idea: would any readers be interested in getting together to work through The Artist’s Way?

I’m not sure how it would work yet. Maybe like a reading group, getting together here on Pilgrim’s Moon every week for twelve weeks to discuss the previous week’s reading and actions. Maybe another online format.

What do you think? If you’d be interested, let me know in the comments, or via the contact form.

It might just be an interesting thing to do together…

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10 Responses to What is “creative”?

  1. Tess, I agree with you completely –
    Each human being is entirely unique
    and blessed with creative gifts we
    might not even know we have –

    And so Virginia Woolf says…

    “No need to hurry.
    No need to sparkle.
    No need to be anybody
    but oneself.”

  2. Hi Tess!

    Have you seen Julia Cameron’s most recent book, IT’S NEVER TOO LATE TO BEGIN AGAIN? The subtitle is “Discovering Creativity and Meaning at Midlife and Beyond.”

    21 years ago, I began writing Morning Pages, and I did work through the 12 week program. (The most difficult week was the reading deprivation week…and yet somehow I survived! As I look back at my Morning Pages, I see that I “prepared” myself by taking up a crocheting project. 👍😎)

    Looking forward to seeing what you decide to do regarding THE ARTIST’S WAY.


  3. How interesting! I’ll see if I can locate a copy of The Artist’s Way.

    Your intro about what is creativity and where does it begin got me to thinking …
    My Dad doodled and taught me to draw a 3-D box as well as how to draw a house plan.
    My Mom sewed clothes and curtains, drew straight lines by measuring 3 places where she’d put a dot, then line up the ruler touching all of the dots to draw the line, and stuck to the recipes when cooking. Along the way, she did some knitting, some crochet, and tried tatting.

    I’ve always been found doodling, drawing, sewing, embroidery, crewel, cross-stitch, and finally, what grew to be my heart’s desire: quilting. I cannot imagine not creating and working with my hands.

    My career was as a registered nurse, working mostly in emergency care and surgery (in the American sense: operating rooms). All very hands-on.

    In retirement, I’ve continued quilting (too much fun!) but have learned to make jam, jelly, salsa, pepper relish, and to put up vegetables from my dear AMIL (angel MIL).

    Lead on, Tess!


  4. Love to work through Artist’s Way. I have owned the book since it first came out, also The Vein of Gold, but have yet to read either all the way through (although did answer some of the questions)… had all sorts of cleaver reasons for not doing so, but maybe the time is right now, as she says, “Leap and the net will appear”, eh?

  5. I worked through The Artists Way (with a friend) long ago and continue to use ‘morning pages’ as part of my journal practice/routine. A few years ago, I picked up 6 boxed sets in prep to doing the AW with a group, but it didn’t pan out. I’ve given several sets away as gifts; it’s a classic and still one of the best (imo). Would love to do this again.

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