The Open-Ended Question of Creativity

Should you initiate boundaries when expressing your creativity? Should you let the cat out of the bag or keep your nun garb on?

5 points goes to the person who answers this with proper grammar and punctuation in less than 5 sentences.

Parameters are boundaries, are they not? Or let me reword this…parameters are more requirements to prevent us from crossing boundaries, so basically one is the parent the other the offspring.

We are taught our entire lives to follow rules, parameters, and stay within boundaries. All of a sudden we graduate from {insert school}, and we are faced with “thinking outside of the box.” Being that our creativity was harbored inside all of these years, it takes some brainwave adjustment. Sure we know how to write our own papers. (or you should-for all you cheaters out there) Basic math and reading and customer interaction- yes, most of us are quite capable.

If you have always been a creative, then “thinking outside the box” is like riding your bike. In today’s society, I find it tough to express creativity with the dawn of social networking and instant gratification. The only place in which I can begin to think along the wavelength of a triangle and not a box is in the kitchen.

The kitchen is like an open canvas to me. (I was always the kid in art class that got a B, due to my jittery fingers and inability to color within the lines.) In the kitchen, you can fake being an artist with certain tools and turn a bland dish into an exotic with just a few ingredients and some thyme. (corny mc-corn, i know!)

There is 100% truth in the “unexamined life isn’t worth living”, which is why I strive to do or create something unique every day. It may be taking a scenic route to the grocery store, planning a spontaneous trip, or just substituting applesauce for oil in a recipe.

However you choose to express your creativity is all a matter of choice and circumstance. Personally at the collegiate level, I found more professors and staff abating than praising my creativity. Probably because their parameters only allowed for so much back story and I am a HUGE advocate of back story in any kind of presentation or writing piece. Who wants to dissect the story of Moses without adding some modern objectivity into it? This is probably why in English all my papers received no higher than a B+. I cannot resist the urge to throw my own thoughts in something even if it’s required to be purely factual. If you’re supposed to just rehash a topic, are you really retaining anything? No way. If you make the topic your own by adding your own spin on it, it proves to be much more memorable and rewarding.

Flash forward to present-day…I am facing the opposite problem of being overlooked for my thoughts or opinions. A few employers have flat-out told me I’m overqualified, but they will throw me the position for an hourly rate and no benefits. (Uhhhh, this brings me back to when I was transferred into a second grade class when I was really at a fourth grade intelligence.) NEVER SELL YOURSELF SHORT.

Rerouting back to the intended question of parameters, boundaries and creativity…I personally let my hair down when I’m in the culinary atmosphere or mood. I’m a rule follower in general, but in the kitchen it’s like the Wild Wild West. There are blenders bubbling with cinnamon and cakes with tea bag filling. I guess my passion for experiments and science have really translated into cooking.

As long as your creative gene does not inflict harm on yourself or onto others, I say walk the plank! One of life’s greatest highs is the feeling of the unknown and the reward it brings afterwards.

Here are some ways to add some glitter to your mediocre palette:

1. Cook for a less fortunate family for a few weeks

2. Skydive/Parasail/Experience some kind of adrenaline-inducing sport

3. Make a public fool out of yourself (without drugs/alcohol/arresting) Recommended: beginning a flash mob

4. Take off work and fly/drive to anywhere that your petty cash stash will get you

5. Use that spice or ingredient stashed way in the back of the fridge, drawer, freezer, or cabinet before you decide to throw it out

6. Write yourself a postcard dated January 1, 2013 with all you hope to achieve in 2012. See if you accomplish it all. Store it in a pair of winter shoes so you’ll find it around the right time next year.

Now kick some creative butt and make life worthwhile! Bring yourself, a friend, or your pet along for the ride!

Peace, love, and creativity!

~C.C.D.

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