Imagine, Work, Trust, Create (The Creativity Series: guest blog)

I met Molly Faulkner many years ago in Lincoln, Nebraska. We were at the International Thespian Festival to run workshops for High School students  from across the country who really, really cared about theater in all its aspects. From there grew a long standing friendship and respect for each others craft: Molly in Dance, mine in theater.

This is a real pleasure to have her here.

The Creativity Series: Guest Post

Imagine, Work, Trust, Create: Molly Faulkner

In trying to answer Stuart’s questions about creativity I found myself trying to define it so I could better investigate how it manifested itself in my own life.  Here’s what I came up with.

There is a world of action and a sense of journey implied in the word creativity.

To be creative is to imagine something and then follow it through to a conclusion. It may not turn out as planned but it leads somewhere. The idea of creativity has engendered many scholars to try and define it, map it, visually represent it, and try and pin it down in language, but the concept is too broad, the process too variable, the experience too personal.

There is a liminality that creativity entrusts to its initiates, standing on the threshold between envisioning and conceiving. The lens of creativity both broadens the focus to encompass connections from outside world and narrows it to recognize how these connections serve the idea. Every step of the path leads to the end of the journey, and there is an inherent trust that it is the “right” path, the ONLY path which will lead to other paths.

Creativity by its very nature is a successive finite endeavor, there has to be a conclusion a product that can be deemed creative. Creativity demands an audience, demands recognition, and demands perspective to be truly appreciated.

Back to Stuart’s questions of the what, how, where, why, and who of creativity, I’m a professor of dance at a community college. I try to be creative in my teaching, in my choreography, and in my administrative work. But more than that I try and let creativity permeate my life and when I let it, it gives me great peace.

I am awed at the connections between living life and the creative process and constantly try to minimize the compartmentalization between “my art” and my life. I learn this lesson over and over again.

When I trust the process and embrace the liminalty there is an excitement rather than an expectation for what’s next, and isn’t that what creativity is all about?

Molly Faulkner is an Associate Professor of Dance at Palomar College in San Marcos, CA. She was a professional ballet dancer, a dancer for Tokyo Disneyland, and the muppet Grover on Sesame St. Live before she discovered a passion for teaching and choreography. She has degrees in dance from the University of Arizona (B.F.A.), University of Iowa (M.F.A.), and Texas Woman’s University (Ph.D.).
Molly Faulkner, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Dance
Palomar College
760 744-1150 ext. 2318

14 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Lisa Wields Words
    Dec 05, 2011 @ 07:30:01

    I love this statement “There is a liminality that creativity entrusts to its initiates, standing on the threshold between envisioning and conceiving” and the idea that creativity suggests action. I wonder, however, if creativity can ever be an end in itself, without an actual end product. I mean, I agree in general that “Creativity demands an audience, demands recognition, and demands perspective to be truly appreciated” but can creative acts be continuously creative without an obvious final product?

    Lovely post.



  2. bornstoryteller
    Dec 05, 2011 @ 09:42:25

    Lisa: I am a firm believer AND practitioner of theatrical work not having to end in a performance, especially in the educational end of things. I work a lot with Process Drama, and some of the moral and life questions asked during the process do not always have an end answer. It breeds further inquiry, and that is really more important than a presentation, in my opinion. It is ongoing performance art.

    When I do Devised/Collaborative theater work, it’s a work in progress, as I’ve only had the opportunity to work on this in Masters Classes so far. I do know the students take a LOT away with them, and in the end, isn’t that most important?


    • Lisa Wields Words
      Dec 05, 2011 @ 10:12:41

      Preaching to the choir Stuart, AMEN! I actually have been struggling with the two classes I’ve been teaching for kids this fall, because it HAD TO end in performance, and I hate that. I always share things at the end, but performance isn’t what I teach. Next Saturday, show day, could be a painful experience.


      • bornstoryteller
        Dec 05, 2011 @ 10:19:02

        I hear you. I love using the words “Work in Progress”….SOMETIMES it works.

        Good luck with it. Sometimes the kids pull through. If parents will be there, they will have the “Oh you did a wonderful job” parent mode (hopefully).

  3. Mary Hudak-Colllins
    Dec 05, 2011 @ 10:38:37

    What a ‘creative’ twist on a post on creativity! Creativity comes in so many shapes and sizes and literally means something different to different people. I will say one thing’s for sure…I want that light-bulb fish bowl 🙂


  4. Molly Faulkner
    Dec 05, 2011 @ 11:25:43

    Lisa, I struggle with the process vs product dilemma all the time but to me even the “works in process” are still works. Even unfinished efforts had a series of places where the artist stopped assessed made decisions, sought feedback (perhaps), and these way points count. Like watching Iron Chef, we are awed by there process and creativity long before the dish is plated. The “aha” when it all comes together is the moment of magic.


    • Lisa Wields Words
      Dec 05, 2011 @ 21:35:16

      I guess i just struggle with the reality that so often we are judged only by product, when the process might have been so amazing that it raises the value of the product simply because we know what we have achieved. But of course, audience doesn’t always see how far we’ve come and can only react to what they see. It’s always a challenge.


      • Molly Faulkner
        Dec 06, 2011 @ 00:08:41

        Lisa I have such a broad definition of product. I Went back and forth on including it, but to deem something creative, there must be something to deem, even if it is a “process”. Btw I love this conversation, I don’t get to go dance nerd very often! Thanks!

  5. jan
    Dec 05, 2011 @ 21:17:04

    This is an excellent post. I agree so many different types and categories . None should be squashed. Thank you!!!


  6. Savira
    Dec 06, 2011 @ 00:14:36

    Creativity … vast as a subject as there so many different kinds of people. Creativity is that burning light within a person’s essence or spirit. It is a way of communicating to the world who… what…. we are!


  7. Deidra Alexander
    Dec 06, 2011 @ 01:19:08

    I’m neither a dancer or actor, but when the words grab me and come rushing almost faster than I can write, then I know what it’s must be like to be on stage. As a writer, the lack of audience seems to hamper our creativity. Hence the old term writer’s block. Thanks for sharing a different perspective.


  8. Anthony Ranukete
    Dec 18, 2011 @ 15:53:25

    Every artist I have met merely enjoys the creative process and is willing to do it over and over again.


  9. EMMANDUS Inspires
    Jun 25, 2012 @ 11:12:43

    Very good piece on the vital subject of creativity.


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