I was looking forward to Friday as a day when I’d be free to work on my own writing, both academic and personal. So, what did I do with it?
1. I burned my right temple with a curling iron.
2. I watched a recording of Wednesday’s Paranormal Witness while holding an ice pack to my temple. My glasses pass over the burn, so I couldn’t read. (or at least that was the excuse I told myself.)
3. Balancing my glasses over the ice pack, I checked my email and logged on to Facebook.
4. I wrote a post on my breast cancer blog. Well, not entirely, since it’s based on a wonderful post on Breastcancer.org
5. I went to Barnes and Noble and read magazines for free.
6. I started this post.
My day job is teaching art history, and I’ve spend the bulk of my career recognizing and discussing the creativity of others. When I search for it in myself, not so much. Sometimes everything seems so banal or derivative that it’s hardly worth putting on paper. I want to write. I love writing. I’m secretly hoping to do it to earn extra money when the time comes that I can’t teach anymore. Maybe I should take a class.
But this got me thinking. I’m noticing the word “creatives” being used by lifestyle and “pretty things” bloggers. I saw a book this evening in B&N’s woefully limited art section on making a living as a “creative.”* It appears to be a means of self-identifying for stylists without presuming to the status of artist, especially for bloggers with taste (and established designers and stylists) who are making names for themselves and publishing books. At the same time, it functions as a means of placing all creative work into the same box, and I don’t think that is fair.
I was looking at local photographers online and one couple had produced a series of photographs of the instructors and students of a local ballet academy. On their blog they gushed about how inspiring it was to be in a room full of “creatives,” with contributions to the process coming from all sides. While this sounds nice, I bristled at the use of the term “creatives” to describe the ballet dancers. Granted, portrait and wedding photographers tend to give up the title of “artist” in comparison to photographers who produce work based entirely on their own ideas and with their own messages. But dancers (both student and professional) are artists, the same way that student and established painters are artists. Writers and poets are artists, even those who write academically (to a greater or lesser degree.)
So what is so frightening about assuming the mantle of artist? Does Michelangelo still loom over the title? If so, what is the motivation to pull artists down to this generalized “creatives?”
Just a thought.
* I am not a fan of turning adjectives into nouns (i.e. a female/male). It’s a peeve of mine.