As a child, I was constantly inventing worlds and imagining situations. My toy box was a spaceship. My tape recorder was a radio station. My light switch was a drive-thru intercom. I wrote songs and plays and stories. My toys were cast in fiberfill vaudeville and Barbie burlesques.
My mother could sense something different about me. The way I put my puzzles together upside down. The way I said “updown side” instead of upside down. The way I organized my crayons by personality traits instead of colour. She tried her best to protect me from the outside world (or was is outworld side?) and vice versa. We tried to harness and suppress my creative urges. We tried to channel them into socially acceptable and productive projects. We did all the creative tests. I went through creative therapy. I tried the creative aids. Nothing worked.
I was ridiculed in school for my inappropriate outbursts of creativity, but I just couldn’t control it. As you can imagine (DON’T! That’s how it starts!), creativity made it impossible to function in “normal” society. The Urges come on suddenly and without warning. In one minute I’m thinking about sandwiches or analyzing NewsRadio‘s wardrobe choices and the next I’m furiously scribbling on nearby scraps of paper or flesh.
Sadly, being creative does not necessarily signify great skill or talent. Like how being chatty doesn’t mean one is also eloquent and well-versed. Quality of output varies. Opinions of quality of output wildly varies. The production of ideas often outpaces the ability the process and capture ideas. These ideas can get lost and mangled. Chronic creativity is an unpredictable condition. No one knows when a flare up will occur; we can only hope to manage the attacks. I can go several weeks without incident. I once went five years without a single creative impulse.
Is it chemical imbalance? Is it contagious? Is it genetic? Is it genius? Is it a blocked nostril? I don’t know. But it’s a very serious and very real condition.
If you know someone who is afflicted with this condition, do be patient with them. Be kind about their creative output. Keep them well stocked in pens and paper. Give them gift cards to coffee shops and grocery stores. Hire them to create materials for your business or event. Pay them for said materials. Click “Like” on their silly projects on Facebook. Organize a marathon to raise money for creativity research.