Sextant

sextant.jpg I am in one of those stages where I think it is the height of ar­ro­gance to be al­ways think­ing through my­self and blog­ging about things I think or the way I think I think things. Yet I’m still do­ing it be­cause maybe per­haps I will ac­tu­al­ly fig­ure out some­thing new. Coming in to work to­day as I passed the steel mill, it’s heat bleed stack was afire and the sky was the col­or of a fresh bruise, dis­turbing­ly pret­ty.

I think it is fool­ish of me to think of my­self as a writer, po­et or artist of any sort be­cause I pro­duce rel­a­tive­ly noth­ing. Even some­thing like thinker is in­ap­pro­pri­ate. I al­ready don’t like la­bels be­cause they lim­it more than spec­i­fy but map­ping my way through the morass of my­self re­quires at least some sort of di­rec­tion­al guide.

I don’t think I am a cre­ator or cre­ative. At least not in the sense of most peo­ple who make or cre­ate things, be it po­et­ry, paint­ing, pho­tog­ra­phy. I don’t think I have the spark for pro­duc­ing new and won­der­ful things. I think that I am more of a dis­cov­er­er than a cre­ator. A find­er. So when I write some­thing or take a pic­ture of some­thing, for me it is an act of dis­cov­ery more than cre­ation. I sup­pose this blog is a path to dis­cov­ery. This en­com­pass­es both self-dis­cov­ery and reg­u­lar world­ly dis­cov­ery. I have said that I am in­ter­est­ed in all the things that peo­ple are in­ter­est­ed in. But I am al­so in­ter­est­ed in how I re­solve my self in ref­er­ence to in­ter­ests and peo­ple and my­self. This is quite con­vo­lut­ed.

What I am say­ing is that I do my best at dis­cov­ery and not cre­ation. I need a task to com­plete and I en­joy the process of com­ple­tion, but not the clo­sure of com­ple­tion. I’m not good at giv­ing my­self cre­ative tasks, but I am good at tasks of dis­cov­ery. By good I mean I have the req­ui­site de­sire and abil­i­ty to com­plete a task that will teach me some­thing, but not the req­ui­site imag­i­na­tion to come up with some­thing to teach my­self. What seems cre­ative is how I go about dis­cov­er­ing things. It is sort of a cre­ativ­i­ty by proxy. Something I do might ap­pear cre­ative mere­ly as a byprod­uct of a dis­cov­er­ing process. A po­em about mas­culin­i­ty was the last thing I wrote, and it was as­signed to me. I had to dis­cov­er both what I thought of the term, how I think oth­ers think of the term, the dif­fer­ence be­tween the two and how to say that in mus­cu­lar po­et­ic form. Sounds com­pli­cat­ed, but that is how I go about dis­cov­ery. And it is a bet­ter ex­am­ple of find­ing seams than I think I have tried to say be­fore.

These dis­cov­er­ies are not specif­i­cal­ly meant for oth­ers. Above all they are to as­sist me in un­der­stand­ing me and my place with­in this place.

3 thoughts on “Sextant

  1. It sounds as though this Florida guy is broad­en­ing the ap­pli­ca­tion of cre­ative. I’m more in­tent on mak­ing a dis­tinc­tion be­tween the way I do things [dis­cov­ery] and cre­ativ­i­ty. The broad use of his term prob­a­bly suits his pur­pos­es ad­mirably, but to me it is ham­mer when I want a scalpel.

    I don’t know that I would in­clude a sci­en­tist, doc­tor or stock bro­ker in a ‘cre­ative class’ al­though they cer­tain­ly use their brain for a liv­ing. In fact, why does want­i­ng to use your brain need a pur­pose [i.e. to make a liv­ing]? I get the most use-val­ue from my brain when I rev it up for shits and gig­gles.

    Of course, I’ve not read any Florida, and haven’t been there in ten years, so my spec­u­la­tion is use­less.

  2. Rise of the Creative Class is one of the best non-fic­tion books of the past 5 years, if you’re in­ter­est­ed in progress, pub­lic pol­i­cy, eco­nom­ics, ur­ban plan­ning, etc. You can bor­row my copy if you want.

  3. Richard Florida would say you are cre­ative. Basically any­one who us­es their brain for a liv­ing (or would like to, for those not em­ployed in their cho­sen ca­reer) are the cre­ative class. Artists, writ­ers, mu­si­cians, etc are the “su­per-cre­ative core”.

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