creativity: part one

October 14, 2014

I don't know how this post is going to go. It might get heavy.

I'll start with this. If there's one thing I love it's school spirit, right? Yes. So every year I go to BYU's homecoming "opening ceremonies." It's that assembly slash pep rally that happens at the beginning of every homecoming week (like the one happening today..) where they talk about the theme for the year, lots of musical groups perform, Cosmo is there, you know. And every year the winner of the homecoming essay contest reads his or her winning essay at this assembly. And every year I ask myself why I didn't enter that essay contest. The word limit for the essays is small, the prize money is large, and I like to write! Right? 

So this year I did it, I entered. I'll be honest, I had a really hard time writing my essay. But I so badly wanted to do it. I didn't give up. (Stefan wouldn't have let me.) I loved the theme <<<(click on that to read about the theme and rules, etc.) and felt like I had a lot to say about it. But because I had so many ideas, I had a hard time deciding which to focus on. I seriously felt like I was trying to do something good by writing this essay and getting a lot of thoughts I had already been having down on paper, but the universe was working against me. Anyway, I ended up getting a ton of help with this thing and in the end I loved it. It was exactly what I wanted to say, and I meant every word of it. 

Spoiler alert: I did not win the essay contest. I also didn't come in second, third, fourth, you get it. And I am not afraid to admit that I was totally crushed. I felt like I had put myself out there and been completely rejected. Even the e-mail telling me I didn't win felt so cold and heartless. "Dear student.." You can't even plug my name into your e-mail? Way to make a girl feel like she's worth something.

Right after I found out, my texts to Stefan went like this:

Me: Hey, are you going to be busy from 4:45 to about 6? (my only break between classes and work that day.)
Me: Please say no.
Me: Hello? I'm really sad.

Then he finally got service and replied, I told him what happened, and he took me to get Sodalicious and french fries during my break. 

So I decided to post my essay here because I really like it, dang it. And maybe the essay people didn't like it, or maybe it strayed too far from their theme and guidelines, or maybe a dozen other people submitted essays ten times better than mine, or maybe it really is awful, I don't know. But I was proud of myself for taking a chance, and I still really like this essay.

Also, I thought about waiting until I know who won to decide whether I would post this. Because what if I know the people who won, how embarrassing would it be if they read this and found out I entered too? But then I told myself that was silly, I shouldn't let something like that determine whether I share something I'm proud of. So:

Everyone an Artist: Our Divine Calling to Create

The tiny branch of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints located in downtown Portland, Oregon is comprised mostly of members who were born five decades before I was. During a Relief Society lesson I attended there while living in Portland this summer, a loving teacher prompted everyone in the class to reflect on the deepest desires of our hearts. Without a moment’s hesitation, I thought: I want to create art. Several older women then expressed heartfelt wishes for children and grandchildren to accept, return to, or continue living the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Somewhat disheartened, I realized the desires of my twenty-one year old heart were completely different than those of my lovely, aging sisters. Not only was my deepest desire not about my unborn grandchildren, it had nothing to do with the Gospel of Christ. I just wanted to create art.
Back from Portland and once again deep in classes in the Marriott School of Management at Brigham Young University, I began to wonder how my dream of artistic creation could fit into my life. As I researched the influence of art at BYU, I found my answer. Franklin S. Harris spent years working as an agricultural scientist prior to serving as President of Brigham Young University for nearly a quarter century. During his first five years at BYU, President Harris organized five new colleges – one of which was the College of Fine Arts, the first fine arts college in the Western United States. The man affectionately known as “Mr. BYU” shared his opinion regarding the arts this way: “Our age is often referred to as The Age of Science. My training has been in the field of science. … I am often referred to as a scientist, but I sincerely believe that no man can even begin to live richly and adequately until he becomes enthusiastic about at least one of the arts.” Oh, how those words spoke to the heart of a Recreation Management major who just wants to paint!
While President S. Harris reflected my own enthusiasm for incorporating art into life, it may not resonate immediately with every BYU student. But consider the words from President Dieter F. Uchtdorf: “The desire to create is one of the deepest yearnings of the human soul. … Creation brings deep satisfaction and fulfillment. We develop ourselves and others when we take unorganized matter into our hands and mold it into something of beauty.” As I reflected on the words of both President Harris and President Uchtdorf, I realized how wrong I was when I believed my desire to make art had nothing to do with the Gospel; it is just the opposite. A desire to create is inherent in each of us as children of God – the ultimate creative being. Becoming an artist is essential in creating a rich life. But the creation of real, beautiful art by BYU students is not limited to the walls of the Harris Fine Arts Center. President Uchtdorf also taught, “The bounds of creativity extend far beyond the limits of a canvas or a sheet of paper and do not require a brush, pen, or the keys of a piano. Creation means bringing into existence something that did not exist before – colorful gardens, harmonious homes, family memories, flowing laughter.” Undoubtedly, BYU’s campus is rampant with budding artists.
I believe every student at Brigham Young University is an artist because every one of us is a creator in some way. I hear art at BYU when I pass a classroom of students immersing themselves in a new language. I see art I will never understand when I walk through the Crabtree Building, full of new technology. And I am definitely watching art each time Taysom Hill creates a big play out of a seemingly dire situation. I am confident that finding BYU students using each of these art forms to enrich their lives would make President Harris very proud.
Students at Brigham Young University are fortunate to attend a school whose leaders and faculty help promote the artist in every student, regardless of their declared majors. As BYU students we are blessed to know that incorporating art and creativity into our education helps us come closer to fulfilling our divine purpose in life. Most importantly, at BYU we are encouraged to develop our art in whichever form we most love. So whether you spend your time at BYU in a cadaver lab or dance studio, remember the education you are creating for yourself is a work of art. As we learn to incorporate art into our lives, we will be better able to achieve the deepest desires of our hearts, to create a rich, beautiful life, and to truly take flight.

Maybe I didn't win because they read my essay after Taysom broke his leg? Probably.


Jake said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I love your school spirit and I love your essay. Winning comes in many forms. I've never won a marathon but I feel like a winner with every finish line I cross.

BronteCampbell said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I love this. As someone who is in an arts major, this was really great for me to read. I agree wholeheartedly with everything you said. Love you!

Lesa Emmett said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I too love the feeling of creating something beautiful; a dress, a tune on the piano, or a home full of love and laughter. This essay made me happy! Love You!

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