Nurturing Creativity by Doug Lewandowski

In many respects, waiting for creativity to arrive is like hanging out in the yard waiting for things to grow.

One of the more trying courses I took in graduate school was the Psychology of Individual Differences. I am NOT, and doubt that I will ever be, good with statistics. Instead of looking for specificity, which numbers provide, I look for themes, but I do have a healthy respect for what numbers can offer. We all develop with our own style; just have to get out of the way to see the blossoming of the innate potential. Experience, linked with education and genetic inheritance moves us to new places.

On many occasions as an educator and counselor/psychologist, I’ve seen a convergence between know-how, learning and inherited traits. Awhile back I came across a student who was in their first year of medical school who was presented with a problem in a case study as part of a seminar. Students in the class were given specifics: lab tests, symptoms and the course of the illness. As the instructor went around the room asking each seminar participant to take a crack at finding a root cause for the condition, divergent opinions were offered, ranging from asthma to rickets. After some thoughtful consideration, my friend answered when the instructor came to them, “AIDS. I think they have AIDS.” They nailed it. This is an example of how an education, experience and the right kind of brain cells leads to sound judgements. Outside of medicine or training for a therapist/counselor/psychologist, there are similar processes for many other skills from brain surgery to first class welders.

The writer has their own pocket full of aptitudes. Somewhere in the author’s mind are the seeds of creation. They can be coaxed into growing by the right nutrients, especially if  given the chance. I suspect some day we will be able to enter through the doorways of inspiration and learn how it happens. Until then we are left standing on the doorstep, marveling at what appears when a revelation welcomes us in .

In many respects, waiting for creativity to arrive is like hanging out in the yard waiting for things to grow. The peonies will come, like they always do, and the lilacs will begin budding soon. They don’t seem to need our help except for the occasional pruning so they’ll come back stronger. The annuals need a welcoming environment and the right fertilizers, watering and gentle attention, to thrive and blossom during warm summer days.

Without stretching metaphors too far, this is not a whole lot different from what goes on between our ears when we write. If we have the “right stuff”  in the beginning, it will happen. Discouragement is the soil that needs tender, loving care to produce. Other times we need to prune, to shape, to get the results we want. Then we wait and hope that what we’ve have worked at will be valued. There are no guarantees, as you know. Keep at it.

Doug Lewandowski has walked a varied path. He was a Christian Brother, an English teacher/counselor and is a retired Licensed Psychologist. He writes a column in the Duluth News Tribune and has had a story published in the Nemadji Review and placed third in 2020 in the Jade Ring’s short story contest of the Wisconsin Writer’s Association. Another short story was recently accepted for fall publication in the Jack Pine’s Writer’s Bloc “Talking Stick.” He was a commentator for KCRB, Minnesota Public Radio in the 90s. Doug transplanted to Duluth in 2018 to be closer to grandchildren. You may follow him on his blog