Tuesday, January 18

Signs of Creativity : The Storytellers Journey

The Sprite has shown signes of creativity since he was able to move and talk. Lately he has displayed an increased level of conceptual creativity, making up highly elaborate stories and scenarios. He has always had a strong creative streak, look at who his parents are, two artists, so its only natural. Painting, playing piano, singing, writing. Making up stories seems to be at the root of much of this energy. I myself was an avid storyteller as a child. I had a legal hard cover pad of lined paper that I filled with stories about characters I invented; chubby ghost, spiders, posinis fish. Also characters were based on books I had at the time; Hectors House, Andy Pandy, Bill & Ben. My imagination was running riot over the pages of that notebook. I'm hoping it is still in the attic of the home I grew up in, safely covered in cobwebs, and not lost to the landfill somewhere.

In the past, bathnight games involved Sesame Street character Bernie - an amalgam of Bert and Ernie - was hitching a ride on the friendly shark (represented by a wooden handled loufer). The shark would take Bernie on aride all over the wall, up and down the bath. And oh the antics they would get up to together.

The boy has always been obsessed with cars, specifically NASCAR. Who knows why. But over the past year or three he has amassed quite an impressive garage. He'll arrange all the cars on the grid and enact elaborate race theatrics where each driver has a personality and vociferously argues with the other drivers. He is like the Director of a huge blockbuster movie acted out on the living room floor.

He has been playing the piano for a while now, which makes us very happy. Before he started lessons, he'd play around on the old player piano in our living room, turn around to face an imaginary audience and ask "I want all you guys to sing, okay" He'll proceed to bash on the keys of the horribly out-of-tune antique piano making up a horribly out-of-tune ditty. I can only hope the guys singing along in The Sprite's head were in better tune.

His drawings have taken on an increased level of detail, both visually and conceptually. Simple stick figures are now taking on depth and dimension. Colors are being explored fully. And every picture now contains an incredibly detailed backstory. No longer are Mummy and Daddy and Himself standing in a white void on the page. Now we are coming down from a mountain after school to stay at a hotel with a ghost in each room while eagles float under a black sky before the storm.

The most interesting story The Sprite has concocted involves another life he apparently lived. This ultimately revolves around his 'old house', a place where he used to live with his other parents and a sibling in 1840. Apparently the house was shot up by 'the bad guys' and it burned to the ground, but not before our little hero was able to save his family. We could be talking about something as innocuous as a pair of shoes, and that will trigger a long diatribe of how he used to have a pair of those shoes, at his old house. The funny thing is the story has remained extremely consistent for well over a year. Maybe two. The details get added and modified occasionally, obviously to accommodate whatever the current circumstances triggering the anecdote. But the foundations of his story have not wavered one bit. He'll recount the tale over again without faltering or missing a detail. For a while we wondered if he was reincarnated and having some kind of spectral flashbacks. Was kinda freaky. However I'm sure its all just manifestations of a highly creative mind at play.

Most artists are storytellers; musicians, poets, writers, painters or filmmakers all telling stories. Whether The Sprites behaviour is anything beyond normal child's imagination remains to be seen, time will tell. But you can guarantee ElectricMommy and I will nurture and encourage every aspect of his creative dreaming and storytelling every step of the way.

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