Where do you get your creativity?

I had a flashback to my childhood this weekend. There’s a large water tower shaped like a nasal aspirator standing on its end on the top of a hill in the city where I live. When I top the mountain coming from the area where I live into the city, I can see this distinctly shaped water tower standing taller than anything around it (except for the Saturn V rocket in the background).

Seeing this reminded me how when I was a kid I used to imagine that the water tower was, indeed, a large nasal aspirator and the whole world was a shoebox like the one my mom used as a medicine box. In mom’s medicine shoebox there were band-aids, cotton balls, iodine, Neosporin and other first-aid items — and a blue nasal aspirator. As we’d drive around town I’d look for other things that would fit my theory that the whole world was a medicine shoe box. Clouds represented cotton balls. The large tents at car dealerships were gauze pads. Etc. Never found anything that looked like an iodine bottle, though.

This recollection led me to ask, where do we get our creativity? Why did my mind connect the water tower with the nose sucker? Why did I go over the top and make the whole world a medicine shoebox? I’ve often wondered similarly about the creative minds behind TV shows and movies. M. Night Shyamalan (Sixth Sense, The Village, Signs) for example. I love his movies. But where do his ideas come from? Is it a God-given talent or has it been learned through life experiences or things he’s read or seen? I think perhaps a little of both. At least that’s how I view some of my creative talent. All talents come from God but our life experiences shape how we use that talent.

Speaking of Shyamalan, he’s working on a new film set to come out next year. “The Happening” is scheduled to be released in June 2008. The plot (according to wikipedia) involves Earth’s vegetation unleashing an invisible neurotoxin causing all those who breathe it to brutally kill themselves. The protagonist, a science teacher, goes on the run with his wife and friends as hysteria grips the planet. Creative, I tell ya!


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