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Creativity: The Encourager April 11, 2013

Posted by jayocallahan in Creativity.

Years ago my friend Doug Lipman and I were leading a week long workshop in creativity and storytelling in southern France. Our whole group – the Creative Monsters – were staying at a large house where we were served beautiful meals and were also given painting lessons.

Most of us were new to painting. I painted a window of the house and still have that in my study. The instructor said to the group, “Jay’s painting captured an image we’ll never forget.”

I think that was true. I’m sure the painting was amateurish but he saw what was alive in it and pointed that out. That delighted and encouraged me to create more.

All of us have this vast mysterious playful side to us. There’s a great playground in us and out of that playground comes the work of Picasso. Out of that playground also comes a song we might sing, a drawing we might do, a kind but creative word to a friend. There are huge negative voices that perhaps are cultural, but those voices are destructive. They say, “There is no time. I can’t draw” or “I can’t write” or “I’m not creative; that’s for talented people.”

Nonsense! You are creative. Let it out, plunk on a piano, whistle, try a pickle on your peanut butter sandwich. Or even take a workshop and find out how helpful it is to have a supportive, trustful, playful group.



1. Marni Gillard - April 11, 2013

You always make me laugh and my shoulders drop. My crocuses are now dancing with my daffodils – right outside my miraculous window. Can you imagine?

2. Cathryn Wellner - April 11, 2013

I’m absolutely loving these posts on creativity, Jay. I can hear your voice and think back to all the inspiration you have been to me.

3. Daryll Bellingham, Storyteller - April 11, 2013

Yes, so true. We were invited along to a county town, Deniliquin (Australia), ukulele group the other night and the group creative was so warm and supportive. So today, on our way back from looking at birds and kangaroos at a wonderful bird hide, we started thinking about the words of a song with all the great place names in the district. Story begets story, creativity supports more creativity and more community.

jayocallahan - April 15, 2013

It’s wonderful to read your words about birds and kangaroos and story begetting story. How lovely to hear from you from afar!

4. Michael Williams, Edinburgh - April 15, 2013

Thanks Jay for your story and reminder of the importance of play and creativity. I coach story groups and it’s such a privilege to accompany people overcoming their fear of using their voice in this way. It’s great to see folk responding here too and to know wonderful work and encouraging words are being shared all over the world.

5. Drew Willard - April 21, 2013

More than ever, we need the “voice of the turtle [dove]” to be heard over the “clarion call” for retribution. We need our storytellers…

6. Creativity: The Encourager - This Is Just To Say - May 19, 2019

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