The creative adult is the child who survived after the world tried killing them, making them grown up. The creative adult is the child who survived the blandness of, the unhelpful words of bad teachers, and the nay-saying ways of the world. The creative adult is in essence simply that, a child. -Ursula Le Guin
After Ursula LeGuin died, I kept seeing this quote pop up in articles and Facebook memorials. But, almost no one posted the whole thing. Most people shorten it to say, “The creative adult is the child who survived.” And that’s it. Changes the meaning quite a bit don’t you think?
It’s pretty easy to see why the rest of the quote isn’t featured. It’s challenging, dangerous and true. The shortened version is a bland version of the whole thing, exactly what she’s railing against.
She’s saying that uncreative adults were children killed by the world and reborn as boring, normal zombie shouting “Blaaaand!” instead of “Brains!” Not killed by a villain or someone with ill-intent, but killed by mediocrity, coaching toward being “normal,” and just being told over and over again that they were wrong.
So, in her memory, help the world be less bland. Support someone who is doing something different today. You could download an album from Bandcamp by a band that’s just starting out, go see a play put on by a local high school or college, or buy an original piece of art from an unknown artist. If you can’t afford to do that, why not just write an email to someone who you admire for being different and letting them know how much you appreciate them and their work.
We could all use a little help surviving bland.