6.2 Multi-talents: A Wizard of a Solution

 CAST SHOT b & w
 Photo: Comedy on Tilt Troupe, Lake County, California

by Janet Grace Riehl
with Stephanie Farrow

A wizard appears before you. He
offers the tantalizing gift of creative talent in more than one field. Do you

The blessings of the wizard’s gift
would be:

  • An expanded palette with which to paint your creative
    vision: language, movement, sound, visual art and media, theater.
  • A choice to rotate your gifts or bring them together
    into new form.
  • Wowing your friends in cocktail conversations and
    parlor games.

The curse of the gift would be:

  • Confusion. What to do first, where, and when?
  • Overwhelm by and fear of so many choices.
  • The responsibility of deciding how to shape the extra
    freedom of expression.
  • The possibility of never getting anything done because
    of starting so many creative projects without finishing them.
  • Having to learn to say “no”—and mean it.

The wizard promises more freedom and
choice. But the gift comes with responsibilities and obstacles to match.
Choosing and directing the freedom multi-talents bring, may make you feel like
you need magical powers of your own. You’d have to learn to welcome limits,
rules, and boundaries in order to sort, shape, and determine the scale of your
projects. You’d have to make friends with constraints as a way to make the best
use of your freedom.

Freedom requires a container, and
that container is structure. In art school I learned that setting criteria,
goals, and deadlines helped me create a body of work for my senior show. I set
the theme early on of investigating the vessel. Then I yielded to intuition as
my hands made a flotilla of boats from the constructed world, pods from nature,
and the intimacy of the body. To install a cohesive show I had to decide which
objects to include, how to arrange them, and how viewers would interact with
the world inside the room. In short, I used structure as my guide and my

the end we must become our own wizards. We must know what our powers are,
understand how to use them, and live within the limits of our human reach.

This is the second in a series of five posts on multi-talented creativity. Pose questions about practical
creativity; give ideas for future cycle themes; and join in the dialog.

See the
Creative Catalyst archive at http://bit.ly/9z1BQv
.  Learn more about our audio book “Sightlines:
A Family Love Story in Poetry and Music”at



2 responses to “6.2 Multi-talents: A Wizard of a Solution

  1. Oh Janet you have it in one!! Confusion and fear…these words just about sum the whole thing up!! I have tried and tried to figure it all out, and have only today have begun a serious dialogue with my inner being on this very topic.
    I know in my heart and soul that writng (and reading) is what I most yearn to do. But somehow working on crafts is just so much more family-friendly. When spinning, knitting, dyeing or weaving I can still talk with my children, be there for them as it were.
    But when I am writing my whole personality changes. I need silence and space, and there is very little of that available around here!!!

  2. Dear Edith, good to hear from you again. You are exactly right that each form of creativity requires different environments and different parts of ourselves. Is there a way you can do the crafts for family time and carve even 15 minutes at your kitchen table fore writing? Also, see if you can find Carol Lloyd’s book “Creating a Life Worth Living.” Very good on life design. May help you problem solve.

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