We’ve lost a couple of giants in the last week, both of whom speak of and for creativity albeit in very different ways: Anna Craft with her little ‘c’ creativity and Robin William’s big black dog of Creativity.
There can’t be many people out there who’ve not encountered Williams in his various disguises but probably a whole lot more who have never come across Anna’s work on creativity and learning. Whilst Williams’ creativity was bombastic, totalising and indisputable, Craft’s was more nuanced, subtle and ambiguous: with Williams you felt a target on the wrong side of the monologue but with Craft you did at least have a sense that you were in dialogue with her, previous generations and yourself.
Between them, they encapsulate the spectrum of difficulty of what it is to define, discuss or demonstrate that most infuriating of phenomena: the ‘c’ word. Is it all about individual genius which borders on insanity and can only be understood by defaulting to understandings of mental health, childhood trauma or drug fuelled psychosis? Or is it about more subtle ways of engaging with and imagining a world of possibilities? Or both?
Let’s do an Anna and ask ourselves, ‘What If they met on their own respective stairways to heaven? What might they have said to each other as they made their way through purgatory? And what insights might they generate as they waited to find out their future destiny? And where would that leave the rest of us?
Would Robin admit to a life long secret desire to be a nursery school teacher? And Anna to a thwarted ambition to entertain millions through her latent desire to be a rock guitar hero? We’ll never know for certain of course: but one thing they could both agree upon is that without them gracing the earth for their short days, we would all be a lot poorer in understanding what it is to be human.
But if you do have an inside track on their conversation as they made it up into the stars, it would be great to hear about it!