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Is Creativity Catching

Nov 30, 2007
Is creativity inherited or taught - or both? Because my mother believed that handmade gifts were better than store-bought ones, I made gifts for my grandparents every gift-giving occasion. As soon as I was old enough to use scissors and glue, I turned cans into pencil holders, Popsicle sticks into trivets and shirt cardboards into picture frames. When I was a child, I felt sorry for my grandparents. Now when I look at the sticker-covered boxes, paper Mache bowls and clay figures that my sons made for me, I think they're treasures.

When I was a teenager and complained that I had nothing to wear, my mother would tell me to use my imagination. I think she'd seen too many commercials in which a pair of slacks, a skirt, two blouses and a scarf were turned into ninety-nine different outfits. Now I wear black. I thought I wore black for convenience, but maybe my wardrobe imagination died.

My imaginative talk, however, is alive and well. Imaginative talk isn't lying. It's leading people astray with words. If someone asks me to do something I really don't want to do, I say I wish they'd asked me sooner - implying I have something else to do at that time. Actually, I do. At that time I'm going to be thankful I don't have to do whatever I'd been asked to do.

I'm especially thankful for creativity when I'm in the kitchen. It helps me turn my mistakes into meals. Just a titch of egg yolk in the egg whites can ruin a souffle, but it doesn't have to ruin dinner. I can call the flat souffle a frittata and then call my family.

When my family wants to eat meat, however, we go out. Then my vegetarianism becomes a challenge for a professional chef. Sometimes chefs can be deliciously inventive with vegetables. Unfortunately, restaurant management can be more inventive with price.

Chefs are considered artistically creative people. So are actors, artists, dancers, and musicians. They can dare to be different without being that daring. They can march to a different drummer without being out of step.

Then there's my Cousin Walter. I think everyone has a Cousin Walter. He's very different and he marches to a very different drummer. Unfortunately, Walter doesn't have an artistic bone in his body. We can't explain his behavior by saying he's creative. He's just ... Cousin Walter.
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KNIGHT PIERCE HIRST takes humorous looks at life.
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