It is funny how some things start making perfect sense when you hear yourself say them. Inside your head, they are ambiguous little abstractions that make little or no sense, but the moment you put them into words and speak them out loud, they become clear as day. This must be magic — this altering of reality by saying a word.
I was in office the other day, doodling absent-minded on the whiteboard, when someone came up to me and asked what I was drawing.
“I don’t know,” I said.
“If you don’t know what you are drawing, how are you drawing it?” he asked.
I replied, “I am drawing it to find out what it is.”
My answer surprised me. I had been contemplating the nature of the creative process on and off over the past few weeks and it had all been swilling about inside my head rather pointlessly. But now it made perfect sense.
I was not creating anything. I was trying to understand and I was conveying my lack of understanding.
And perhaps this applies to most art and literature out there. What we call creativity is perhaps only an urge to communicate something. More often than not, it is not even a message — only the feeling that there is something… this very specific something that I can’t quite put my finger on… and I want you to know that it is there. All a creative person is saying is this — I do not know.
The key is having something to say. Almost everything we create is an attempt to get the message right, to understand it, and to try and make sure that others understand it as well.