Dixie Darr

In creativity, work on August 6, 2007 at 7:56 am


“A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.”

Robert A. Heinlein, The Notebooks of Lazarus Long

After my experience at Cirque du Soleil last week, I have re-immersed myself in learning all I can about the French-Canadian circus company, visiting their website, checking out a few DVDs and rereading the novel The Spark, the book tells a fictitious story of a sports agent who reignites his creativity by visiting Cirque du Soleil.

One of the things that intrigues me is the way the main character and all the Cirque performers have the freedom to learn new skills, try out new interests. What an extraordinary idea. When I was working as a community college administrator, the thing that made me the most crazy (and that drove me away) was that nobody was allowed to try new things. Ever. You were hired to do a job because you had experience and education in doing that job and you were expected to continue doing it until the person ahead of you quit or died.

I’m the kind of person who gets bored doing the same thing in the same way over and over again. I like teaching because, even if I teach the same subject many times, each time is different and I have the flexibility to bring in new information and present it in new ways. Writing allows me the same variety.

My goal now is not to run away and join the circus, but to use inspiration from the circus to reinvent the work I already do. What can I learn from Cirque? To push myself beyond my self-imposed limits. To try things that scare me. To collaborate with other creative people. To quit thinking so much and just do it.

© Copyright 2007 Dixie Darr. All rights reserved


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