December 2, 2010

Artistic, creative people get creative at any age

In high school days of English lit, teachers of teens loved to extol boy-or-girl-wonders such as the poet William Cullen Bryant, who reportedly wrote Thanatopsis at the young age of 18. Thanks to the Internet, a little research not only showed this information to be verifiable and true, but the kid actually published poems years earlier!

Now decades past my expiration date for being a wonder, I wondered what happened to Bryant. Not much went on with his poems, but the boy-poet advanced into his 80’s as an editor and writer of prose.

I’ll take that as an encouragement and hope you will too, because, at any age, creative people can and do find outlets for creativity.

What interests me even more than age or art genres, though, is how one artistic endeavor often leads to another. Take Thomas Hardy, for example. He started out as an architect and somehow that visual art helped him to write artistically in all literary genres.

Or consider the Reverend Gerard Manley Hopkins, who, besides studying theology, studied art and music – all of which he then combined into poems still loved and bought by the book-load today.

In investigating how one art informs another, I also discovered that W.B. Yeats studied art too, whereas G.K. Chesterton reviewed books about art. In and on other artistic stages, James Joyce sang professionally, and Dylan Thomas tried writing movie scripts.

How successful those creative acts were, I do not know, but each of those poets and writers wrote memorable manuscripts for years, some even into old age – timeless, tireless poems and stories still studied, collected, and recollected with ageless honor. What a wonder!


(c) 2010, Mary Sayler

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