Creatives and Creators

My Zoe likes Shark Tank on tv so I often watch it with her. This may indicate that my daughter will become a capitalist. I’m not sure that would please me. But for now, I’m getting some insights by watching these venture capitalists and would-be entrepreneurs I’ll call creatives.

Venture capitalists are not anyone I care to comment about as my opinion would be skewed by both personal experience and lack of substantial study.

But about creatives, I have educated opinions, and I consider the Shark Tank presenters, and most people of the entrepreneurial sort, distinct from what I call creators.

A creative’s vocation is to make most anything. Be it a story, a cupcake, a butt- hugging workout suit, or a home security app, he or she is inspired by the process, by the pleasure of introducing something new into the world, and often by the prospect of financial reward.

I used to think of myself as one of them. I enjoy the creative process. But lately I have come to realize the difference between those good folks and creators.

We creators believe our mission is to make something in particular: it could be a device, a method of thinking, a philosophy, a value, a musical or artistic concept. It could be something that will turn the world upside down or be only a small piece of a development that in the near or distant future might lead to something larger.

Being a creator is often more of a burden than a gift. It’s no more noble than being a creative, a laborer, a politician, or a clerk, but it is a state of mind that we who fit the profile need to accept and learn to live with.

Being a creator might be diagnosed as mental illness. Here’s proof. When my big daughter Darcy was five, I returned to writing a story (which has since evolved into a huge project) called “The Gas Crisis”. She came into the kitchen while I was musing about that story and after a brief glance, she said, “Oh no, crazy ol’ daddy’s working on the grass crisis again.”

Creators are rarely content unless we are moving toward our goal, though we may not yet know what it is. Other pursuits often feel trivial. We may attend to them, but not without a portion of resentment, as they are deflecting us from our mission. Only profound love can allow us to step aside from pursuing our goal to give our family what they need from us. No promise of material benefit or security can for long let us ignore what we feel as our calling. Though we may not recognize the calling as such, we only ignore it at our peril.

Below are some thoughts — penned by Friedrich Nietzsche, a philosopher/poet I’m sure my Darcy would agree was far crazier even than I am — that express how consuming the calling of a creator can be:

“A bestowing virtue is the highest virtue.

“In truth I divine you well, my disciples; you strive like me for the bestowing virtue. What should you have in common with cats and wolves?

“It is your thirst to become sacrifices and gifts yourselves: and therefore you thirst to accumulate all riches in your soul.

“Insatiably your soul strives for treasures and jewels, because your virtue is insatiable in desiring to bestow.

“You constrain all things to flow towards you and into you, so that they shall flow back again out of your fountain as the gifts of your love.

“Then elevated is your soul. and raised up; with delight, it enraptures the spirit; so that it becomes creator, and valuer, and lover, and everything’s benefactor.

“When your heart overflows broad and full like the river, a blessing and a danger to the lowlanders: there is the origin of your virtue.”

Anyone who finds these thoughts of Nietzsche’s familiar will probably agree with me that we creators are at once blessed and cursed.