Out of Nothing

Dear Reader,

Creativity takes time. At my job, I am responsible for handling administrative functions and other logistics. Much of what I do is the implementation of other people’s plans and ideas. While I’m good at my job, sometimes working as an ‘arm’ rather than a ‘brain’ can be mentally draining. However, every once in a while, a creative task appears that I jump on before it is assigned to someone else. Today, this task is designing an event program.

Harvard Arts Museum, Cambridge, MA

It can be hard to focus on creative tasks when you work in an administrative capacity. In my role, I am the one who is supposed to quickly answer emails and make myself available when needed. This sort of work is not exactly compatible with creative tasks. What does it mean to be creative anyway? According to Wikipedia, creativity is a “phenomenon whereby something new and somehow valuable is formed” either intangible like an idea or physical like a painting or invention.” Creativity is making something out of nothing. In this way, being creative is truly an extraordinary task.

While I can type emails quickly and craft responses appropriately, creating something like an event program is a whole other skill that I am not yet adept at. There are so many little pieces to consider when designing an event program. I am using Word Documents, which is in itself an arsenal of tools at one’s fingertips. I can choose different fonts in different sizes in different colors and with different backgrounds. A simple colored square in the top right corner of a page adds a little flair in an otherwise plain text. Big bold font in the center of the page screams for your attention, while italicized gray text on the side adds subtle, but necessary context.

Harvard Arts Museum, Cambridge, MA

It is very enjoyable for me to manipulate lines, colors and text in this way. Unleashing my creative side can be very fulfilling, however, it takes time. I spent several hours designing and formatting the program this Saturday. It was astounding to see that the sun had already set by the time that I was satisfied enough to give it a rest. Performing administrative tasks never leave me with a where-did-the-time-go sort of feeling. No, in fact, administrative work can often leave me counting the minutes. The creative work, on the other hand, was something that I volunteered to do on a Saturday. Although this was technically work, it was enjoyable and well worth the time that I put into it. I don’t know what I would like to do long-term workwise, however, I know that a large degree of creativity is necessary.

Reykjavik, Iceland, summer 2019

I believe that anyone can be creative. Visual art, writing, music, design, and even engineering all take practice. Sometimes I feel that we are too hesitant to engage with our creative side. Because there are less “rules” in being creative, sometimes people feel afraid to experiment without clear guidelines. Additionally, I feel that many of us were taught that subjects like music and art are hobbies rather than serious pursuits. Also, creative tasks are deeply personal and it can be hard to share our creative side with others for fear of criticism. Feeling afraid to share your creative side is valid — people can be tough! However, if creating makes you happy, Dear Reader, just do it, even if you are the only one who gets to enjoy your creations.



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