A little while back, Janko and Adelle got together to bring the community a discussion of what exactly they thought creativity was. And in ‘What is Creativity?’, they talk about the potential that there is in each of us for possessing this creative flame. Always, finding these discussions interesting, I read through the post a couple of days ago, having missed it’s initial run. Immediately, I thought of a post I had written recently for Fuel Your Writing, called Nurturing the Creative Flame in the Young, where I speak about the importance of nurturing that creative spark in children, so that it grows with them as they get older.
The post went up yesterday, so the timing of all of this seemed to be something a bit more than coincidence. It seemed to be fateful positioning by the muses to inspire me into yet another post focusing on the creative spirit that we all have the potential for relinquishing control over to. And as I discussed in the post about nurturing that flame, how important it is to recognize that spark and to help it evolve, I began thinking about those people who faced overwhelming opposition their creative expressions. Those people who had so many others ridiculing them for their art, for their creative explorations, yet they never stopped their love of creating and loving what they created. Those people are heroes in my eyes, the under-appreciated creatives who are never swayed or stalled by this lack of recognition and sometimes even by the derision that may be tossed their way.
These are empowering examples that I believe the creative community needs to always be aware of, not only to honor those bold enough to pursue their creative visions in spite of it all, but for an added piece of mind we may be absent from time to time when receiving the anonymous critiques of the faceless masses of online haters. If you have spent a significant amount of time sharing yourself and designs online, you know the masses of which I am referring to. There are certainly a great number of helpful, constructive critics out there willing to impart opinions and suggested areas where you need more focus and tweaking, but then there are the others. The less than constructive, and sometimes less than conscionable, commenters who leave nothing close to a helpful critique on a creative piece, often doing so under the cover of the anonymity that the internet can readily offer. These are the comments that can sometimes stifle a creative voice, because well, sometimes, creative people…we can be sensitive. Not all of us, and not all of the time, but it can happen. We can have our moments, when we doubt ourselves and the direction our creative path is leading in the face of an overly harsh, less than supportive critique.
So remembering these iconic examples can be a healthy reminder to us all in the creative field, that no one can truly stifle that urge to be creative, other than us. In this post, we are featuring the triumph of the creative spirit that drove Ed Wood.
If you have never heard of the notorious filmmaker, Ed Wood, then you are definitely missing out an unwavering creative spirit that sought to tell his stories beyond the critical slamming that he met at every turn. Believing that the story was the most important thing, beyond lack of funding for effects, qualified actors, or even say, continuity of characters, he clung to the theory posited by the band Queen some years later after Ed got his start, with the track The Show Must Go On (though they may not have been the first to say that). And that is exactly what he did! He kept the shows going on despite the critiques that pummeled his craft. He was driven by a pressing need to create, and his passion kept him going, when very few people were believing in him.
His unconventional and outlandish storylines, coupled with the elements I mentioned a moment ago like his less than special effects, his ‘actors’, etc…, all earned him notoriety as one of the worst filmmakers ever. It wasn’t until after his hayday that his films finally reached a level of appreciation amongst the underground cult crowd, and his reputation as one of the worst in his field would finally be challenged by a growing number of the populous who finally respect his artistic vision. But that is often the case with so many creatives, not getting any recognition during their lifetimes…and sometimes, even after. However, Ed never let this quash his imaginative endeavors behind the camera.
His perseverance over the continued critical slamming that poisonously peppered his career is an inspiration to anyone who has ever had a negative reaction to the not so positive reinforcement that the blogosphere can bring forth. For that reason it is important to remember the examples that folks like Ed Wood have given us. And it is for that courage and dedication to his passion that we believe his example should be celebrated, not ridiculed.
An Added Word of Thanks
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Rob is the talented author and graphic designer, celebrated podcaster and poet, who is now the co-editor and imaginative co-contributor of Fuel Your Creativity. With a background working through most areas of the arts, Rob works from a creative wellspring that shows no signs of running dry.