Monthly Archives: September 2010

Facts and Creativity

“Facts and truth really don’t have much to do with each other”  -William Faulkner

I do not want my life to be consumed by facts.

We are constantly told about the importance of balance in our lives; a balanced diet, work and play, talking and listening, thinking and doing. Balance is a law of nature it would seem. One type of balance which I have neglected is that between fiction and non-fiction. I find it so easy to lose myself in non-fiction. There is so much to know, to understand, to remember, to think about, that I don’t have time for non-utilitarian reading. What’s the point? And yet there is a massive point staring at me from the pages of novels and poems, or the scenes of plays and movies, and even in still images. Yes, pictures are what alerted me to this need for fiction. When I look at some images, I instantly like them, but often cannot put my finger on exactly why I do.  Perhaps it is the way the photographer has caught the mood or the expression in a portrait, or even the simplicity of design. These type of pictures are all fuel which feeds a creative fire in me. The more you see the creativity of others, the more you are driven to be creative yourself. Or perhaps it is simply that I give myself more license to be myself when I see how wonderful it is when others are being themselves. The cultural-consensus of our time is so drab and boring. While there are streaks of colourful individuality, and people who refuse to exist within the lines of society, there are far more drones than there are Jedi! But back to fiction. There is something about fiction which engages our minds and emotions in a way that is not possible if we limited our content to fact. Biographies and history are great, but they are constrained in that they have to be true. And that really is a big constraint! With a blank page, a blank world or a blank person you can do anything. You don’t even have to be realistic. It can be completely fantastical. There’s something about reading a story you know is not true. One would think that this would diminish the experience, but somehow it doesn’t. It’s weird I know.

I have recently had the wonderful experience of liking an abstract photo, but not knowing what I like about it (which is the wonderful part). The reason why it was a wonderful experience is that it was ME that found it cool. It wasn’t because it had good composition, or was by a famous artist. I just liked the way it looked. You might have hated it, and that would be equally wonderful (for me anyways) because it means that I am tapping into my own individualness. Judging something on the criteria that have been given to you (like composition or author (at least implicitly) feels very second-hand. You’ve been told what’s good and what’s bad, what’s interesting and what’s not. When you judge it on those scales, it often just feels like you are a part of the system and that you have no unique view to add. That’s why I hate model answers; because that’s basically saying that there is only one answer to any given question. And if you venture even just a little beyond the porch of hard sciences, that’s no longer true.

So I think what I’m trying to say is that it’s good to read fiction. It’s good to observe and engage with creative works, and, even better, creative people. Surrounding yourself with creativity, uniqueness and individuality helps you to realise that you too are unique (just like everybody else, ironically), you too have something inside you that no one else has. Yes you are influenced by society and education and religion and all those things, but you are a unique non-linear system. The way you combine with those external factors will be fundamentally different to the way someone else combines with those very same factors – and that’s individuality. Your personality, your quirks your you-ness. These are things you should value highly- it’s the only part of you that no one else has or ever can have. So, be creative. Cultivate creative relationships. Read fiction. Engage in visual creativity. Think uniquely. Feel uniquely. Be yourself.

I, for one, am really going to try to!


The Lamb…

Behold, the Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world!” John 1:29

“… the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” Revelation 13:8

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16

What an awesome picture…portraying the awesome truth.

Comrade Ogilvy

“It struck him as curious that you could create dead men but not living ones. Comrade Ogilvy, who had never existed in the present, now existed in the past, and when once the act of forgery was forgotten, he would exist just as authentically, and upon the same evidence, as Charlemagne or Julius Caesar.” –  George Orwell (1984)


And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first-born among any brethren; and whom He predestined, these He also called; and whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified. What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Just as it is written, “For Thy sake we are being put to death all day long; we were considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:28-39

It feels like I am realizing this for the first time all over again! Wowaweewa!

And what manner of men will they be?

“And what manner of men will they be? Men mighty in the Scriptures, their lives dominated by a sense of the greatness, the majesty and holiness of God, and their minds and hearts aglow with the great truths of the doctrines of grace. They will be men who have learned what it is to die to self, to human aims and personal ambitions; men who are willing to be ‘fools for Christ’s sake’, who will bear reproach and falsehood, who will labour and suffer, and whose supreme desire will be, not to gain earth’s accolades, but to win the Master’s approbation when they appear before His awesome judgment seat. They will be men who will preach with broken hearts and tear-filled eyes, and upon whose ministries God will grant an extraordinary effusion of the Holy Spirit, and who will witness ‘signs and wonders following’ in the transformation of multitudes of human lives.” (Arnold Dallimore’s biography of George Whitfield, page 16)