Making a political cartoon into a metaphor for creativity
-I’ve got to make a political cartoon, the sixth-grade boy says to me. I’m going downstairs.
I’m fiddling with my iPad and half-watching the end of the US Open. I’m just happy that he didn’t rope me into working on the assignment and that he’s going down to the playroom alone. Sometimes he gets skittish about that.
A few minutes later, he’s back in the kitchen.
– What do you think of ‘from slavery to leadership?’
I don’t look up.
– How about from slavery to equality,?
– That sounds good.
He’s quiet for a little. Then he hands me the cartoon.
I’m pretty impressed.
The thing about creativity is that it’s not about getting all wound up in knots, it’s not about being independent and clever, it’s not about making everyone stop and take notice. It’s about taking the straight path from the idea to your imagination and letting it all work. Simple, pure, committed and unabashed: that’s the essence of the creative spirit. Everything else that we do gets in the way.
The sixth-grade boy shows me that all the time. He’s relentlessly creative in the truest sense of the word. He’s utterly immersed in his world of creating.
He’s one of my inspirations. I want to do good and honest work because of what I see him do. I hope for him all the time. I hope that he’ll be able to hold on to the simple inevitability of what he does today, the enjoyment, the timeless pleasure.
He deserves it.