Reflections on Pritzker’s Writing and creativity and Richards’ Frank Barron and the study of creativity

For a long time, I’ve had my own hypotheses regarding creativity, writing, and imagination, and Pritzker (2011) discusses some of them.  What’s immediately intriguing in the citation of large-scale biographical studies is that the writers that were analyzed were likely to be voracious readers and came from homes as very unhappy. This explains a lot about my childhood environment as well as my voracious reading habits that continue today and my graphic imagination and need for escape.  However, there is one statistic that probably needs more research; given the low numbers, the element of an alcoholic parent(s) or a parent(s) afflicted by depression of one form or another.  I am hesitant to agree with the statistics here without digging into the original research more deeply because I have read similar accounts that those who are either alcoholics or depressed or afflicted in some way make better creatives.  While I have been inclined to believe that idea in the past, due to my creative nature and my minor non-clinical depression, the idea of it is so much glamorizing and romanticizing an affliction.  Elsewhere, the author suggests that the correlation may be correlational but does little to dispel what seems to read like a series of urban myths.

The introduction of Frank X. Barron and his analysis of creativity, according to Richards (2006) introduced the Psychology community to the idea of creativity in the everyday that may or may not have already been present, discussed, and acted upon in the everyday world, Barron’s ideas notwithstanding.  The author posits that Barron is just now being appreciated in light of his observation that a creative lifestyle of living that allows for alternative coping mechanisms, possibilities, solutions, vibrancy, and purpose in life.  But I must ask, where was Richards or Barron, for that matter, currently and decades and centuries ago when creatives did anything and everything they could creatively to survive and thrive to be complete and healthy individuals, rather than conform to the status quo.

I must insist that the world was very aware, some followed such a regimen and the majority looked upon such a lifestyle as one that had no value, except in hindsight. Every era and generation has had its majority of conformists and its significant minority of rebels as it does now.  The difference here is that the psychological community made note of it beginning in the 1960s and began to study it.  That does not mean that other writers and other philosophers began observing it and analyzing it years before.  What Barron seemed to introduce when he began studying creativity formally in the 1960s on, was a means of exploring it from a psychological viewpoint to aid in the understanding of methods that could be used to benefit people who were afflicted with a variety of disorders related to depression or emotional disorder.

 

References:

Pritzker, S. R. (2011). Writing and creativity. In M. A. Runco & S. R. Pritzker (Eds.), Encyclopedia of creativity (2nd ed., pp. 525-532). Burlington, MA: Academic Press. DOI 10.1016/B978-0-12-375038-9.00237-5.

Richards, R. (2006). Frank Barron and the study of creativity: A voice that lives on. Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 46, 352-370. DOI 10.1177/0022167806287579.

 

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