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Saturday, April 4, 2009

Creative Autobiography - Question #1

I'm reading a great book these days (thank you, Greta Bruneel!) titled The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life by Twyla Tharp.

Early in the book she provides a questionnaire for readers to better understand their "creative DNA." In other words, what makes them tick creatively... what "story" you're trying to tell, why you do the things you do, where you are strong and where you are weak.

Ms. Tharp emphatically calls the reader to honesty, and no giving in to the urge to impress others. In her book, this exercise, a "Creative Autobiography," is for yourself only.

But I loved this first question, and it sparked great memories in me. So occasionally, I may share my Creative Autobiography answers with you.

Question #1: What is the first creative moment you remember?

I remember the wonder of reading and learning. I remember the awe I felt for my 2nd grade teacher, Mrs. Woolwine. She would read a story to us at the end of every day. And the first story that I remember holding me on the absolute edge of my seat was Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl. Looking it up in Wikipedia, I see that it came out in the US in 1964. I was in 2nd grade (7 years old) in 1968, so that wasn’t too far away. And my own copy of this book looked just like the cover here.

Glorious memory. I remember looking forward to the end of the day and getting to listen to her tell us about the golden ticket, Charlie Bucket, Augustus Gloop, Veruca Salt, Mike Teevee and Violet Beauregarde. I remember not caring about time or where I was or whether I had friends. I was completely alone with the story. It was a safe and enchanting place. It was escape.

I distinctly remember trying to picture the Chocolate River and August Gloop falling in and clogging the pipes; Veruca Salt getting thrown down the chute for wanting nuts, and Violet Beauregarde getting big and blue. I remember Charlie’s difficult life and the wonder he felt at getting a golden ticket. I related well to Charlie because he was an overlooked child, and I was too. I was quiet, we moved a lot, I didn’t have many friends, we didn’t live in a warm and familiar home. I remember the world of words and books and imagination opening up to me for the first time through this book. This was the year I really learned how to read and I would just BURY my nose in books.

For me, creativity = imagination. So my first creative, AKA imaginative, moment that I remember was listening to Mrs. Woolwine in 2nd grade reading Charlie and the Chocolate Factory to our class. And I never wanted it to end.


  1. That is such a fun memory, Kelly! I, too, discovered a love for reading through my teacher (in 3rd grade). For me it was the Ramona the Pest Series, and then Little House on the Prairie the next year. :)

  2. Ramona the Pest was a very close second for me! It came out around then (OK, so I'm loads older than you...). I desperately wanted to have a cool nickname like "Beezus," and thought it was amazing that her doll's name was Chevrolet.

  3. My first creative memory is from Kinderarden. I loved dinosaurs so I decided to write and illustrate a book showing individual dinosaurs and dinosaurs at war...blood and all. I was so proud of it I asked my teacher if she could laminate the pages then put a metal ring in the corner to keep it together.