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The Daily Register - Harrisburg, IL
The Real Reason To Be Creative
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About this blog
By Gary DeNeal
Gary DeNeal is the editor and publisher since 1985 of Springhouse, a bi-monthly magazine focusing on the history and lore of southeastern Illinois.
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By Gary DeNeal
Feb. 9, 2013 12:01 a.m.



Whether we like it or not, and many of us don’t, we are fitted into other people’s perception of who we are. Our boldest crime may have netted a parking ticket, but we find ourselves in a kind of prison anyway, only because people expect us to adhere to the pattern they have created for us as a result of our actions and their imaginations. Should a young person break forth from how he or she is perceived, such breakage is often shrugged off as a glitch barely worth mentioning.   

 

Old people have it harder. Much harder!

 

The moment the past mid-sixty folk blaze new trails personality-wise—lifelong dour businessman trades suit and tie for garb thrift stores customarily reject and is occasionally seen with a rose between teeth, that sort of thing—they are eyed by loved ones and acquaintances alike for signs of oncoming dementia. The unspoken code: You have to be who we think you are or suffer the consequences.

 

There is a way out of this personal prison, but one has to start young and keep at it. Take care to devote as much quality time as possible to creative pursuits. Baffle friends and neighbors from the start. By so doing, when one grows chronologically old, thus a candidate for the inevitable Coming Apart at the Seams, nobody will know the difference.

 

Do not waste energy thinking of Creativity as a pathway to creating masterpieces. Most unsung “geniuses” are unsung for a reason. Example: Let’s assume you pursue the writing of poetry for fifty years, by which time your eyes are dimmer than a remembered sunset and your liver-spotted hands are less charming than a moonscape, and all you have to show for a ragged half-century of  worrying rhymes into order are four quotable lines, consider yourself lucky beyond words. These are four more lines than most people get.

 

Rather than droning on and on about Contributing to Society, concentrate on what really matters—fooling other people to the point they are never able to say who you really are, or, most important of all, in what slot (cell?) you belong.

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