The Essence Of Creativity – “What box?”

On Friday I had the occasion to visit my local community board where I was asked to sign in on one of those lined sheets with columns and lines for Name, Address, Phone, email Address, Reason for Visiting.

So I did so but, whether I write large or the lines and spaces are too small, I used more than what the designer of this form allotted.

When I handed it back to the woman she wrinkled her nose and mumbled something about “taking up more than one line.”

My reply: “You really were taught well, weren’t you?” and when she looked at me a little bit defensively I countered, “I mean, I’m sure you were told not to color outside the lines, weren’t you? But the essence of creativity is to use whatever you need – space, lines, time – to get done what you set out to get done.”  

Perhaps too big an answer to a rather insignificant issue but her reply was a peek into a way of thinking that has crept into our lives and is crippling us.

We have become SO sensitive, SO worried about offending, SO paralyzed by whatever is considered “correct” this season that nothing is getting done. We’re not working, not earning, not building, not creating.

Worse. We’re sliding backward into an abyss.

You have, I’m sure, heard the plea to think outside the box.

The best reply I’ve heard to this is,

“What box?”

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