Creativity from a slightly different angle

3 Dec

I’m currently rewatching Danny Baker’s Great Album Showdown (off Youtube, sorry Danny – it was the only way I could watch it again because those rotters who control Iplayer let it fall off the playlist) and it’s making me look at the world of creativity in a very different way.

Hearing people talk about vinyl albums, sleeve art and even the smell of a newly opened record are all amazing things to take in and try to understand as a writer.

Creativity is a visceral experience.

What you hear, what you see, what you feel, what you taste, what you smell and what you physically experience all add up to what you eventually write.

The human being is descended from an ape who came down from the trees and created language.

Language to tell the other apes “Hey, there’s a really good fruit tree in that direction” or “Look out for those things with the big teeth, I just saw one eating my mate Phil” (because obviously all ape-creatures had a mate called Phil).

From those early grunts and gestures we evolved the rich tapestry of many different languages that now exist. Some are long gone and forgotten. Some only exist as recordings.

There’s almost no culture that didn’t have a history of telling each other stories right back to the beginning of spoken language with early man around fires saying “That bit of land, there’s sabretooth tigers killing cavemen with rocks – don’t go there looking for food.” which is essentially the very first horror story.

Or the caveman seeing an eclipse for the first time telling his mates about that back at the cave “And the sun never came back, because it’d been eaten by a dinosaur” so he’s telling the first science fiction story or first piece of fantasy.

And it’s the same with writing. We still have access to stuff like cuniform, one of the oldest examples of a written language that is known to exist. Imagine your ancient Babylonian scholar, he’s sitting outside, maybe looking at the moon thinking

That’s pretty
or
One day I’m going write about how a base up there has a disaster and is blown into space so the people on the base have to survive in space” and inadvertantly creates some early science fiction (It’s the plot for Space:1999 in case you didn’t recognise it) or he’s looking out at the boats on the rivers and thinks “Hm, a scientist who says ‘Rivers? Where we’re going we won’t need any rivers!’ (Back To The Future, only set on water).

We imagine.
We make shit up.
We lie on paper.
Because others get some form of entertainment from it.
Which is why as long as we can write stuff down, we will.

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