Beginner’s Guide To Creative Intelligence, Lesson # 1. Knowing you know more than you know you know.
So, there I was. I had my “10 things I know about creative intelligence” all planned out, to cover the next ten posts. And the first one was almost complete.
I had written of how society needs to “up” its collective creative intelligence (CQ); of how we are in the infancy of understanding this faculty; of how we probably never, fully, will.
And I had listed some of the benefits a more developed CQ would bring you at a personal level: increased flexibility and spontaneity; clearer vision and values; the capacity to face, use and transcend pain and suffering; a holistic sense of connection to others and to your environment; more mindfulness and self-awareness; more fun, more pleasure, more enjoyment…
Then WordPress went funny on me. I pressed the “Preview” button and it failed and told me to try again. When I did, it crashed completely and somehow lost the entire post.
I wanted to scream, I wanted to yell, I wanted to kick the desk. I was reminded of the time when I lost 15,000 words of my first novel: the weeks of screaming yells it took to get over it, the months of work it took to replace the material — but mostly about how the novel had been improved by the loss.
So once I had established that the post was indeed definitely, absolutely and irrevocably lost, I spared my desk legs and took myself off to have breakfast (yes, all this happened before breakfast).
In my local coffeeshop, over soya latté and a breakfast muffin, I began some FREE-writing and within a few lines I found myself writing the following. “You’re hiding.” Then: “The old way won’t do it.”
“Old way?” I wrote back. “Do what, anyway?” But I knew, as half of you does know and half of you pretends not to sometimes.
The old way was the way of the journalist and nonbeliever, the way I used to be. That way had given me a good training in scepticism and independent thinking (and a good journalistic piece on creative intelligence) but, with two long novels under my belt, it was no longer my way.
When I submitted the manuscript of A Dance in Time to my publisher, I realised it marked the end of my writing apprenticeship. Not that I’d learned all I needed to know — but that some, vital, line had been crossed. That line wasn’t just technical but also creative, also – ahem! – spiritual
Now my FREE-Writing was insisting that if my blog was going to usefully explore creative intelligence and foster inspiration in its readers (its two main aims) then I, its creator, was going to have to come out of the spiritual closet.
I finished the muffin. Surrounded by babies and their chattering mothers, I kept my left hand on the table and carried on letting words rise and pass into the right-hand that was moving the pen, longhand, across the page.
I didn’t want to blog about what I believe, I wrote, because what I believe is personal and a bit sacred and it would make me feel too icky to write something like: “to be inspired is to be in-spirit,” even though that is what I believe. Even writing the word ‘spirit’ at all made me feel icky — so much cant and nonsense and manipulative guff gets written in its name.
It’s not that I don’t believe in inspiration — or know where it comes from. I think of Willie Yeats with his young wife, of how he made her write or chant, day after day, about “gyres and cubes and midnight things” to feed his poetry’s appetite for sex and symbol.
I think of Theodore Roethke, speaking of how he always went to his knees after “being given” a poem that he knew to be good.
I think of Gertrude Stein saying, “you cannot go into the womb to form the child; it is there and makes itself and comes forth whole — and there it is and you have made it and have felt it, but it has come itself.”
I think of Carl Jung, breaking with his friend and “master” Sigmund Freud, risking professional ruin to explore the collective uncsonscious – which sounded far too like primitive magic thinking to his colleagues, the kind of thinking they had rejected to become sophisticated psychoanalysts. Asked whether he had faith, Jung is said to have responded: “I don’t believe…I know“.
To say that we know takes courage, to write of what we know still more. We don’t all need to publish it in our blog but we probably do need to write it.
So what is it that you know — that you may be very busy trying not to know?
RELATED POSTS: Beginner’s Guide to Creative Intelligence Lesson # 10 Lesson # 9 Lesson #8 Lesson # 7; Lesson # 6; Lesson # 5 Lesson #4 Lesson #3 Lesson #2