Carmentalia: Reminder about Creativity

available at Wikimedia commonsToday this article about creativity was brought to my attention (through which I found this one on rebuilding yourself by pretending to be someone else), and I’m also reminded that today is the Carmentalia: an ancient Roman festival in honor of the Nine Muses.  The poem I wrote about them several years ago is available, as well.

This is the thing that I keep bumping into, though.  My creative life is largely a series of practiced failure.  I make something, I do it wrong; I make it again, it’s better; I make it again, it’s better yet; but it’s still not awesome. There was an Ira Socol quotation floating around, to the effect that we all have killer taste, but very few of us know how to put that taste into practice.  Geever Tully, at the Tinkering School, said much the same thing: that kids, when they get stuck, decorate their project until they know how to move it forward again.  I can’t help but think of all those buses in Pakistan and India, covered with decoration.  Have we lost touch with the Nine Muses?  Have we forgotten what they have to say to us?

Wikipedia lists the following muses and their symbols:

Calliope Epic poetry Writing tablet
Clio History Scrolls
Erato Love poetry Cithara (an ancient Greek musical instrument in the lyre family)
Euterpe Song and Elegiac poetry Aulos (an ancient Greek musical instrument like a flute)
Melpomene Tragedy Tragic mask
Polyhymnia Hymns Veil
Terpsichore Dance Lyre
Thalia Comedy Comic mask
Urania Astronomy Globe and compass

I missed my opportunity today, but I am going to figure out a way to incorporate a lesson on the Nine Muses into my Latin classes next week, and give my kids a chance to rest from grammar. Maybe it’s time for a little entertainment, and a little creativity, in our class.

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