Creativity by the Numbers

I gave my imagination away in the 6th grade to my best friend. I didn’t see a use for it, she wanted it, so I gave it to her. I then crossed creativity off the list of characteristics I possess. We won’t point out the obvious irony in that it takes creativity to think of giving it away.

And life went on just fine without creativity.  I had a plan and a list.  What more could a girl ask for?

When I was working for the civil engineering firm in Orlando, I was asked to help one of the partners in setting up the company booth for a trade show. There were VERY detailed instructions as to where everything needed to be – diagrams and all – and we were told everything we would need was in the box. Once we got there, we discovered that everything was in the box, reverse packed so that they were in the order in which we would need to hang them up on walls, but the double sided tape that we would need to attach all these to backdrop was missing.  There wasn’t time to get some, and the booth had to be up that night.  The partner informed me it couldn’t be done.  I was not going to let the marketing lady down.

Apollo 13 movie poster

This event occurred right after Apollo 13 was released, so I dumped all of the supplies we did have onto on empty table top and said, “These are all the supplies we have down here.  We need to get these items up, and we have a limited time to do it.  Get working.”  The partner laughed and accepted the challenge. We discovered that adhesive name badges rolled up were strong enough to put the items up on the board.  Crisis averted.  No need to alert Houston control!  Once the trade show was over, the partner thanked me for my creativity in front of the entire team.  To me, it was just copying and re-purposing.  But I was grateful for the recognition nonetheless.

Another instance of copying led me to winning the most creative costume at a Halloween party last year. I had been stressing about what costume to wear (and stressing and stressing and stressing), but NOTHING came to mind.  Then, as I was standing on the dance floor getting lectured about not concentrating, my mind wandered and came up with the perfect costume!!!!  I would go as a little kid in a Thanksgiving pageant costume!  This was Friday, and the party was Saturday, so I stopped by a discount retailer on the way home to get the supplies.  Out of paper bags, felt, pipe cleaners, feathers, crayons, watercolors, some construction paper, yarn and a ton of staples, I came up with this:
Most Creative Costume Contest Winner

To me this wasn’t creative because it was simply what everyone wore in elementary school celebrations. I was, however, really impressed that my torso would still fit into a paper grocery bag! That made the overall assembly much easier… and was brag-worthy to boot!

Maybe I just have a hang up on the word “creative”.  It almost seems as if I am using semantics to avoid that label. The fact that I’m not creative doesn’t bother me;  I can’t even imagine what my being creative would look like. (See, I told you!!!!!) When other people give me credit for the unmentionable attribute, I feel a fraud. Perhaps I should simply accept that what my brain views as an unabashed stealing of another person’s idea and repurposing it to my situation is seen by others in a different light.  It’s all about perception.

Does anyone else have a relatively innocuous (or in this case, complimentary) label that you have been avoiding?  Or… what is the best Halloween costume you’ve ever had?

7 thoughts on “Creativity by the Numbers”

  1. Tammy, you are so creative! And don’t think for a moment you’re not:)

    Best Halloween costume? A wonderful “fairy godmother” costume when I was about 8 years old. Tin foil crown and wand, floor length tulle skirt, pirate-style white billowing blouse. I wasn’t really girly-girly, but I loved that costume! Cheers! Kaarina


  2. Kaarina,

    Thank you so much for your kind words. I sure I will feel even more creative after playing with some of the ideas in your latest post!

    I wish I had a picture of your fairy g-dmother costume. It does sound delightful!



  3. It’s absolutely perception. And why is it that whatever creative talent we have, we often diminish? I find you a great storyteller with a fun voice. So keep up the writing. My best costume wasn’t for me – it was two 18th century dresses I made for my girls when my ex was really into revoltionary war stuff. They were awesome. I haven’t been to a Halloween party in so long. Now I think I’ll put it on my empty nest list – and I’ll make a costume for MYSELF this time. I’ll let you know what I come up with.



    1. Hi Barbara –

      Thank you so much for your kind words.

      The 18th century dresses sound wonderful. I hope you do create an equally fabulous costume for yourself this year…an added benefit of having empty nest.



  4. Funny isn’t it how we can be so totally convinced that we don’t possess something when we clearly do? You are creative! Your awesome costume proves that … and resourceful 🙂

    I was told for years that I couldn’t draw – by the 8th grade my parents were called in and told to talk some sense into me about my desire to continue with art. Thankfully I left that school – I later went on to art school – admittedly I stopped painting regularly when I discovered the internet but it’s something I hope I’ll get back into one day, maybe. That little voice in my head from when I was 13 is still there somewhere holding me back.

    My best halloween costume? A belly dancer at aged 2 🙂 (NO, it was nothing like anything you’d see on Toddlers and Tiaras) It rocked – was all my mother’s creativity!


    1. Ameena – Thank you so much for your kind words. I’m so glad you were able to leave that horrible school! How could that teacher know what you would be capable of in the future when you were only 13?!?!? I’m outraged on the young you’s behalf!!!!

      A belly dancer costume! I had to laugh at your Toddlers and Tiara’s comment! I’m glad it was a very wholesome, age appropriate costume and that your mother’s creativity has obviously rubbed off on you.



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