Pg 31: "If you want to double your success rate, triple your failure rate."
Pg 75: "All my life, my teachers had been on me to take notes, but this was the first time I ever saw the point. I decided to do this more often. Who knew teachers were so clever?"
So I am into this new career experience and can't help but now see everything in a different light. Almost all the things I come into contact with these days is viewed with the whole idea of problem/challenge based learning in mind. That's why I liked the first quote. Failures are something we experience each and every day, but it is really what you take away from each failure that makes a difference. They are all learning experiences. And there you see why I like the second quote :)
Where I have been having some tension though comes from the definition of creativity. What does it mean to be creative? It seems like it has always had a certain connotation that lends itself to mostly artistic avenues, but as a mathy type person, this always bothered me. Can't I be creative in a different way? What if I don't want to write the next great American novel or paint some crazy picture? Can I still be creative? In my opinion, yes. So this lead to some investigation on my part into how people define the term "creativity" and the act of being "creative". What I found were lots of uses of the word with very little explanation as to what the users meant when they touted their exemplification of it. Well, low and behold, Cory Doctorow has managed to help give me a new appreciation for such a controversial word.
Pirate Cinema is really just about that, pirating copies of videos and movies already made by someone else. The main character in the novel, Cecil, is a filmmaker but has never actually shot his own scenes. What he does is take clips from other movies and put them together in such a precise way that they create new videos, following completely unique plots and characters. Of course Big Brother doesn't like this and he eventually finds himself in hot water legally speaking. Embroiled by the idea of speaking out for his art, Cecil himself says:
Pg 206: "But if we're being honest, it's easy to define creativity: it's doing something that isn't obvious.... It was doing something that didn't exist until I made it, and probably wouldn't have existed unless I did. That's what 'to create' means: to make something new."
I thought this was an awesome way to thing about creativity. Through all the aforementioned investigation, I was coming to the idea of creating being similar to making. The Maker movement has been catching on with lots of folks these days. I'm sure you all know a bit about it from my previous post so I won't go into too much detail now, but still, it is an awesome revolution taking place in our society.
While arguing with his friends and fellow pirates, Cecil is exposed to other people's viewpoints on creativity. In fact it is his little sister who shares this gem:
Pg 208: "Everyone wants a definition of creativity that makes what they do into something special and what everyone else does into nothing special. But the fact is, we're all creative. We come up with weird and interesting ideas all the time. The biggest difference between 'creators' isn't their imagination - it's how hard they work. Ideas are easy. Doing stuff is hard."
See! I am not the only one who wants a definition ! Although, I must say, Cora states it quite nicely and instead of giving me the formal answer, she simply opens my eyes to a new way of thinking about the concept overall. Obviously more pondering is needed on my part, but I feel like I am making some headway into the whole thing.
In the end, Cecil too changes his view towards creativity and becomes even more open-minded about it all. Still, there are those others who need more convincing, and so he invokes a call to arms:
Pg 292: "Maybe from now on, creativity means combining two things in a way that no one has ever thought of combining them before... I think that a law that protects creativity should protect all creativity, not just the kind of creativity that was successful fifty years ago."
This is clearly a subject that is near and dear to Cory Doctorow's heart and anyone who has been following his work for the past several years, knows that he has been making some headway in the issue of publication rights. He has championed the movement and is a big fan or organizations such as Creative Commons. Many of his works are also available free of change on the internet. The legal system is still not fully on board with the idea, but with backers as passionate as Doctorow, the future is bright for creativity of all types.
Now I still don't have my formal definition and of course that still bothers my left braininess, but I am at least a bit more satisfied with how I think about creativity as a whole. Of course this book gave me lots to ponder on in this area it also provided something else for me to think on. This book is dedicated to Walt Disney. Now there was a shocker!!