Thursday, July 2, 2015

Poetry Thursday: Creativity Lessons from Toddlers

I've been thinking about the lessons that Vacation Bible School teaches the grown ups about creativity.  The children entered into every arts and crafts activity with openness.  Even when they weren't enthusiastic--and most were--they still gave every experience a try.

Perhaps it was the activities I chose, but no one said, "I can't do this."  Only once did someone destroy a creation, and it was an older child.  The younger children gave no judgment.  It was very refreshing.

 I just finished reading Kate Atkinson's A God in Ruins--a novel which also makes me think about creativity.  It's a book that works beautifully as a novel.  But at the end, a reader can't help but realize that it's also a book about narrative and story telling.

All of these threads make me think of a poem that I wrote years ago, after I spent Thanksgiving week-end with my nephew.  We told each other stories, stories which ignored the basic rules of narrative structure.

Later, I wrote this poem:

Narrative Lessons

The three year old tells me a story
that is really a list
of things you’d find in the firehouse
where the little old lady lived
once upon a time.

The three year old has not memorized
the five kinds of conflict
(or is it 6?
and what about the ones that overlap?).
He has not studied Aristotle’s rules.
He does not know about mimesis,
the mirror or the lamp.

He simply understands the objects
which he likes recited
to the grown ups who love
him best, the narrative that burns

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