In Christine Martell’s recent post, Continuing to Process, she carefully relates how she is processing her thoughts and feelings during what is a difficult time for her right now.
I identify with what she so clearly says – the difficulty, the discomfort in deciding how to figure out how to move forward and how this relates to visuals. She displays her colourful creation of fish with paint on paper.
She speaks of the difficulty in writing coherent blog posts in a highly creative time. In my comment on her post, I wondered if this may be related to the linear nature of coherence, in contrast to the spatial nature of creativity.
“Lots of figuring out how to move forward in alignment with long term goals, despite short term challenges” is extremely linear in its propagation. I think you are on track to say that “visuals are particularly effective in helping to see overview and complex systems”, and that “creativity is messy”.
I look on linearity as something that is often fostered by our education systems and perhaps how we tend to look on how we should think. The spatial approach, which is what you speak of in “messy” and visual “overview”, is not linear but occupies space, a cloud. It is difficult to conceive a linear mess, and for good reason, and so easy to associate a blot with a mess.
I also believe that this may be a reason why word clouds and the software that creates them (in Wordle, say) have become so popular, more so recently than linear poetry. We talk of a line of print. It’s not a cloud of print. Such an array is messy and difficult for the linearly thinking in us to make reasonable sense of.
But accepting that it’s alright to have mess, that it’s alright to arrange words in an ink cloud rather than a linear pencil, is a start to understanding how creativity needs space. It cannot be (easily) squeezed into a pencil line, for it lies more comfortably with the ink blots and the cotton-wool clouds.Think cloud, rather than line.It’s more creative.It’s also more comfortable.