There’s a lot of references to creativity in my world at the moment, most of them unflattering. I’m reading Jonathon Franzen’s Freedom, a huge, mainly knockaround indictment of liberal mores. Parenting (specifically liberal parenting) is a theme that runs through the book. The autobiographer Patty retells her parents’ somewhat romantic (and militant) views on creativity:
Patty’s mother was a professional Democrat. She is even now, at the time of this writing, a state assembly woman, the Honorable Joyce Emerson, known for her advocacy of open space, poor children, and the Arts. Paradise for Joyce is an open space where poor children can go and do Arts at state expense.
Joyce Emerson is a monster; Patty occupies the lowest rung in the family due to her preference for athletics over the liberal arts, while her sisters become actresses (mainly unemployed) and the book (which is largely Patty’s autobiography but has a clear authorial voice) pokes lots of fun at them. While the largely (so far) sympathetic Richard Katz is a musician he makes his money through manual labour; his successful band isn’t the hopelessly indie, sloganising Traumatics, it’s the homely, country and western Walnut Surprise.
In the blog world I read and enjoyed this post on how skilful, workaday copy has its place alongside the creative stuff. Writers — and the people that employ writers — see copy that simply works as somehow beneath them or something that lacks the wow factor. Professionally I agree with this stance, and can sympathise with the reaction uncreative copy elicits from disappointed colleagues (where are the adjectives?!).
So this is the week of uncreativity. Celebrate.
(Incidentally: Freedom is a fabulous book.)
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