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P.H.C. Marchesi

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Member Since: Sep, 2011

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Blogs by P.H.C. Marchesi

Creativity, empathy, and creating heroes
10/3/2011 8:16:59 PM
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Yesterday I had the privilege of attending one of Sir Ken Robinson’s talks. Sir Ken is an international expert on creativity and education, and I am fortunate he visited my university. Even though I had read his books and watched many of his talks on youtube, I was excited to watch him live. If you haven’t been introduced to his ideas, I urge you to watch the RSA animate “Changing Educational Paradigms,” which you can watch on youtube and other internet sites.

Sir Ken is inspiring to me because he is not afraid to say that creativity is a fundamental skill for the future. Today he also stressed empathy as a kind of creativity: when we can imagine what someone else is feeling, we can empathize – or at the very least – understand them.

As I sat there and thought about my own writing, it occurred to me that it's hard to write exciting fiction for middle-graders and young adults that shows creativity and empathy as heroic qualities. I'm not sure why, since I'd much rather interact on a daily basis with someone who is creative and empathetic rather than someone who is creative and competitive. Perhaps it's easier to imagine a world where creativity and empathy clash with, or are not as important as, other values. Yet few of us would question the fact that there's a tremendous amount of courage in approaching challenges creatively, as well as in being willing to see and understand a different perspective.

For me, the real challenge lies in providing readers with excitement, adventure, and interesting characters – while at the same time giving them a variety of situations and responses that show an imaginative response to the world. An imaginative response, as I see it, has as its basic motivating force curiosity, creativity, and a refreshing confidence that problems can be overcome no matter how impossible the odds. Since I prefer to spend my time in worlds where the imaginative response is both encouraged and valued, I try to provide the same for my readers. This is why I created dimensional holes for Shelby and Shauna Kitt. Through the dimensional holes, Shelby and Shauna go on a mission to planet Miriax, where they learn that the combination of courage, creativity, and empathy is far more important than special powers. I should mention here that courage, in my opinion, is something inherently creative, since it relies on the ability to imagine and experience somethingother than one's fear. Courage is the mind's creative response to fear's immobilizing effects.

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More Blogs by P.H.C. Marchesi
• Utopias, Dystopias, and Why We Bother - Sunday, October 16, 2011
•  Creativity, empathy, and creating heroes - Monday, October 03, 2011  

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