Classic literature is my favorite genre to read; My current pick is Jules Verne’s Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea. Mike took an interest in the title, but he’s not an avid book reader. We decided to watch a movie version, which we both enjoyed. But it got me thinking…
Jules Verne wrote that book in 1870, in French, and an English version followed in 1872. Amazing, an idea, a tale, that Verne articulated nearly 150 years ago is still reaching people – and will continue on for how many years beyond? This idea got me thinking about ideas, and creativity, and their reach.
I’m amazed that we appreciate art imagined hundreds, possibly thousands of years ago – or, even that when we use a device, such as a telephone, that was imagined so long ago, we are interpreting an idea, a manifestation of creative energy. I’ve always imagined creativity as an energy in the form of a mystical butterfly or bird, flitting around, landing on curiously open minds like bright flowers. An idea may come but it won’t necessarily stick, or it may change. Some fester and die. But I like to think of the world as full of this creative energy, flowing all the time.
I think an artist’s greatest hope is that their work engages someone, touches them in some way. Even if that moment is simply to evoke the briefest happiness — like a tactile sense of appreciation, that hope is enough to finish what was started. Painting is no doubt a selfish reward, for all the intricate joys it produces. But back to Jules Verne, or Edison or anyone that receives and engages their creative muscle – you never know who that act will reach. It may not come in your lifetime. How many artists suffered penniless humiliation only to be lauded long after they’ve passed?
It’s an endless curiosity to never know, to not particularly care, who that energy reaches, but rather that it reaches someone. Create for the sake of creation, to fulfill the quest of the mystical bird, bounding through the universe.