Friday, May 21, 2010

Unleash your creativity

Creativity is an ethereal relationship between logic and the subconscious and between technique and imagination. As writers, we want to run away with our creativity, have leeway with our text, explore unchartered writing styles, and forget about the technical part (I know, that’s my case most of the time). However, we need both in order to produce a great story, novel, or screenplay. In one of the workshops I took two years ago, the teacher said, “Write about what you know.” I pondered on that thought for a while. Although he may have point, it doesn’t necessarily have to be the norm. If we only write about what we know, then we’re stifling our creative process. Let me give you an example. I wrote a short story about FGM. This theme is completely foreign to me but I did thorough research about it and came up with a poignant and thought-provoking story. It was published!

On May 18th, I went to McGill University to hear Antonio D’Alfonso speak about his independent film, Bruco. Mr. D’Alfonso recently received the Best Director Award for Bruco at the New York International Film Festival. A poet, literary critic and author himself who has also collaborated on other films as scriptwriter, cameraperson and editor, talked about creativity when producing his films. He said, “Creativity is a clever play on words that is contradictory and paradoxical. Creativity is a question of coming and going, going and coming, and everything in between the words Start and End.”

D’Alfonso elaborated on this as he explained the creative process on the paradox he used for his film. He added, “When I write I always go to the end, that is the death of the text, the death of me, and the birth of my community. I start with the end. The end enables me to know where I am going, which road to take, which direction to follow. Knowing where it all ends permits to look back and decide where to go. Where will I be at the end of this trip? How will this story rap up? What sort of concluding remark do I wish to make? If I cannot answer these questions, I cannot begin to be creative. The fastest way to Rome is to fly to Sydney, Australia. The fastest way to die is by living. The best way of being personal is by being cultural. Such is the paradox of creativity."

Paradoxically, when we write from the imagination we are writing what we "know" but from such a deep level of knowing that we don't know that we know it until it is revealed in our writing. But when we write from our subconscious, we give birth to our true creativity. It keeps us alive, it keeps our writing alive. So, unleash your creativity, set it free, and don’t restrict yourself to just mundane themes.

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