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On creation & emotion

I remember the desk in my little room. The bold white desk sitting atop the mouse-grey carpet. At my desk, I would pull open the bright red drawer on the left-hand side and stare lovingly at my most prized possession: a beautiful set of multi-coloured Crayola wax crayons, settled neatly in their tray. My Royal Crayons. These crayons would be the tools of my trade – I imagined them making it into adulthood with me and shuddered at the thought of them becoming shorter and shorter over the years or snapping in two in a colouring frenzy. My precious crayons. I would build little functional items like flagpoles and design multi-coloured flags for countries I would dream up: Island nations I would found and co-run peacefully and justly with its citizens one day.

You see when I was younger, I knew I wanted to be either an artist or an inventor. At that time, those two professions were incompatible. If I wanted to create as an inventor, things had to be functional, they needed a purpose. If I wanted to create as an artist, they could be whimsical and served no other purpose than to please my mind’s eye. I understood very early on that functionality and beauty were two different things, and they didn’t seem to be marriageable. It was frustrating. And it was sad. I had to choose. Functionality seemed to me it would serve a higher purpose and I slid the little red drawer shut, my Royal Crayons crying inside.

Once the choice was made, my projects quickly wilted. Functionality just couldn’t stand up on its own. What was the point of creating these purposeful items if there was no more beauty in my world, if I needed to always focus on the function. Underestimating the power of the aesthetic cost me dearly; I quickly lost interest in becoming an inventor as well. My inventions seemed futile and wasteful. They became silly. In the way I had separated beauty and utility, the world looked to me bleak and devoid of interest. It was a mistake I made a long time ago, and I’m only realizing now that this dichotomy between creation and passion, thinking and feeling, utility and wonder is a lie. One wilts without the other. The lines between the two must be erased in order to get the whole picture. It’s time to reach for the drawer.

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