Act of Creation: To Glimpse the Divine

Today a small group will gather at the Jacksonville Center for the fourth time to have a wide-ranging discussion about art. A topic to guide us is provided, but wide-ranging is the rule.

Today’s prompt is this:

Renewal, Rebirth, Transformation and the Arts. Have you ever felt renewed by an art experience? Have you had a transformative experience in your art making? Is there something you think could be reborn through art?

My slant, since I’m not an artist in the way others are (those who have more than words or photographs to show to demonstrate their creativity) is to think about CREATIVITY in general. And I’m especially interested in that realm with the power of creative activities to transform us.

It was thrilling to me to discover, for the first time a decade ago, that I even had a creative self that could be nurtured and sustained, and then to learn that it could lead me to so many “rebirths” over those years.

Here’s the way one writer expressed it:

“One of the strangest things is the act of creation.

You are faced with a blank slate–a page, a canvas, a block of stone or wood, a silent musical instrument.

You then look inside yourself. You pull and tug and squeeze and fish around for slippery raw shapeless things that swim like fish made of cloud vapor and fill you with living clamor. You latch onto something. And you bring it forth out of your head like Zeus giving birth to Athena.

And as it comes out, it takes shape and tangible form.

It drips on the canvas, and slides through your pen, it springs forth and resonates into the musical strings, and slips along the edge of the sculptor’s tool onto the surface of the wood or marble.

You have given it cohesion. You have brought forth something ordered and beautiful out of nothing.

You have glimpsed the divine.”
― Vera Nazarian, The Perpetual Calendar of Inspiration

Have you been transformed by glimpsing the divine in your own creative growth?

IMAGE: Pachyderm, from a photograph, via ProCreate for iPad by FFirst

Share this with your friends!

Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

Articles: 3013


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  1. My creativity comes and goes. The ability remains and inspiration mostly comes from some need, mine or for someone else.

    Good job with you artwork Fred. I was still wondering if you did the drawing, or found it, as I read to the bottom for the answer.

  2. Like the definition given by the writer. I have the imagination, the dream, yet…….the older I get I cannot seem to unlock the gate within that is free of negativity in my past attempts. What this means is I am “trying way too hard” and squashing the geniune creativity before it is free to become “beautiful” in it’s own right.

    However, one never knows when it will break free. So much moves me, pushes me to keep reaching for the freedom inside myself to express what I call beauty. Perhaps someday. How old was Grandma Moses when she started painting?

    Happy drawing! Your drawings make me smile. The touch of whimsy is delightful.

  3. I undeerstand better now why you write. The creativity required to choose your words and then arrange them must really be exciting for you to witness. Writing is pretty much anethema for me, and the kind of photography I do is more just recording rather than creating. I’m glad for you, my fellow scientist, that you discovered you had a crative side 10 years ago. Perhaps it’t not too late for me to do so, too.