Spontaneous creativity is truly a wondrous thing.
The other day I was working on a bit of plumbing in my shower, when I slipped and fell from my stool. I awoke to discover I’d hit my head on the edge of the sink as I fell, but when I came to, I had in my head the ultimate idea that would tie together all the plot points and loose ends of my novel. Not long after that, a charismatic lad from twenty years in the future was knocking at my door and some hi jinks ensued involving a stylish car, a clock tower, and the slowest bolt of lightning in the history of recorded science.
Yeah. Subtle. Like a ninja.
Anyway, Dr. Emmett “Doc” Brown raises an interesting point. When he came up with the schematic for his flux capacitor, the piece needed to invent the DeLorean Time Machine was essentially already in his brain, locked away or hidden beneath layers of consciousness The answer was likely made up of bits of information he already knew, but was connected in such a way as to form a complete thought. An idea.
Have you ever had a dream, where circumstances or events were utterly ridiculous? Simply impossible? Yet in the dream, they happen, they function, they work. I’d be willing to venture that this concept envelops Doc’s revelation. Now, let’s apply this to our lives. I’m talking about creativity; to narrow it down, art and imaginative writing.
One takes a brush, smears a stroke of pigment. With enough strokes and some variation of color, an image can be produced. One takes up a pen, scribbles a word. With the addition of more, in a certain order, one forms a sentence. One uses red colored paint as one uses the word for ‘red.’
Flux capacitors, paintings and novels have something in common: they were all created by arranging pre-existing elements that were already in the brain. I find this interesting because the idea seems to be a little at odds with the ‘something from nothing’ concept. Creativity comes from somewhere, and it very well could be as simple as arranging information in our brains in new ways.
Let’s say you know every word in your language. Let’s say you know every color, every type of brush stroke. With this theory, you possess in your head every painting and every novel.