Creativity misunderstood

You might know that I’m a great magazine fan and that I can’t throw them away, so I’m stuck with loads of magazines, all piled up, but not useless! Whenever school demanded a creative approach for something, I dived into the world of fashion photography and publicity, to come out again with a very creative thing I could be proud of. So when we had to make a cover for the topicality task (I call it that, because I don’t think there is any good translation. this is a google translate product. we had to find items about a certain subject, very serious subjects like ‘challenges for Europe’, that is what I try to say. I’ll keep using this word, but please tell me which one woul fit better.) and we were allowed to be creative, I took a handful of magazines and started to search. Normally, I only use fashion magazines, because they have such beautiful pictures and nice publicity. But now I also used a sensation-seeking magazine, you know, the kind that has headings like ‘PRINCESS KATE MAD AT PARTY ANIMAL PIPPA’.  They are keen on drama and sad stories and relations going wrong. My grandmother buys such magazines for the TV-guide within, and then gives them to us. They can be fun to read sometimes, because they have the ability to push you into a certain direction. It’s so subjective, and they succeed in making you think certain things.

So my idea was to fill the cover of the task with headings like ‘CATWALK PREVIEW’ and stuff, so that there would be a big contrast between irrelevant topics and the very serious topics. We had to give this task to her when entering the classroom for the oral exam. First, there was some preparation time, but when I had to do the oral part, more specifically the topicality task part, the first thing she said was: “I don’t understand your cover.”

For a woman who expects us to explain everything about the Vietnam war, I find that rather strange.

So I started to explain about the piles of magazines, but she interrupted: “No no, I mean, everybody has such a serious cover, and you’ve got this.” She looked at the cover. I looked at it too, and I saw that she had put an ugly, quickly drawn question mark on a bit of white space that was left. I wasn’t even getting it back, she was keeping it herself and yet she had decided to put a question mark there, just to destroy it. I was getting pissed. I said: “I wanted to show the variety of topicality.”

To which she answered: “I don’t see any variety.”

Now I was really pissed. Overall there is a great difference between a sensation seeking magazine and a fashion magazine. You might consider fashion magazines to be rather superficial, but I consider fashion photography to be a sort of art. It is a bit superficial, but next to the ‘what to wear’ parts they also talk about society stuff, about politics and art. Not in a way a serious newspaper would do perhaps, but still. Do not – ever – tell me they are the same.
And how come you don’t know? I thought. How can you be so cut off of the world? How can you know so much about the Cold War and yet get uncomfortable when being confronted with a heading saying ”Jeanstrends – Four times in denim’ ? Because she was looking quite uncomfortable. Then I realised that it was a world she just doesn’t know anything about. The magazine world is unknown to her, and that is why she had put the annoying question mark there – to feel comfortable again. Question marks are her world.

I did my last attempt: “It’s to show the contrast with the very serious items within.”
But she had opened the folder and started talking about the items. Seriously, I thought, this is how Galileo must have felt. Sort of. People, sometimes, just don’t understand you. And often you cannot make them understand.

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  1. I hope you shouted at her on the way out.

  2. The power of teachers. If they don’t understand/think alike or plain don’t like you, they can – and unfortunately will try to – put you down. Even with the simplest little red mark on your work.
    I have met some of those individuals during my years at school and think everyone intending to become a teacher should go through a psychology test. If there are tendencies of ‘attracted to/ seeking for power’, they shouldn’t be allowed to let lose on children or teenagers.

    • We definitely have some teachers who wouldn’t pass the test! And there’s nothing you can do about it, that’s the worst thing about it. If you answer them, they’ll make sure you won’t pass or something. I’ve thought about yelling at them and telling them what I really think, but in the end I do nothing more than shutting up…

  3. What did she end up thinking of the project overall?
    Sadly, I’ve run into an awful lot of people who couldn’t see beyond the habits and routines they’d built around themselves.
    Even more sadly, I’ve occasionally been one of those people.

    • Oops ;). Sometimes, you can’t understand what people are doing, but at least you can try to listen to them to understand it, and not putting a question mark there before you have thought about it.


      • Absolutely. But sometimes people also get caught up in their own little worlds and can’t make that leap.

  4. What’s that bitch know anyway? She’ll be stuck in the same dumb building the rest of her life doing the same lesson plans over and over again each year. History rarely changes. She’s not comfortable with anything new.

  5. You hit the nail on the head. The magazine world is foreign to her and it made her uncomfortable so she had to diminish your work. That’s her issue, NOT YOURS. Hold your head up and be proud of your creativity, openness, and flexibility – all things that she does not possess. Like Mooselicker said, she’ll be stuck there and you’ll be moving on.

    I always have loved fashion magazines. I consider some of the photography to be like art, too. I’d even hang it on my wall when I was exactly your age. You’re a visual person who appreciates beautiful things. : )

    • I’m planning on hanging some pictures on my wall too! Like you say I appreciate beautiful things. The teacher might be confused by it, but at least I find like minded individuals here! At least we are openminded…

  6. I always used magazine clippings for ANY creative task in school. Some teachers understood, and they would light up and love it. Others would look at me shaking their heads in disapproval. I can totally relate. Getting inspired from beautiful pictures and headlines is a great thing. That’s what magazines are for! Even if your teacher didn’t understand it, doesn’t mean that you didn’t try or didn’t understand or didn’t do a great job. She’s just thinking “in the box” and you’re thinking way outside of it.

    • “In the box”, great way to explain it! Yes, some teachers seem to like it, but apparently she was just confused by it.
      She should come out of the box ;).

  7. “People, sometimes, just don’t understand you. And often you cannot make them understand.”

    Also, sometimes, you don’t really need some people to understand. It’s ok that she had not shared your vision with you and said that many people came back with “serious” covers.

    I remember myself being very poetic at school and my essays and courseworks would also be misunderstood until I stopped caring and all of the sudden they all seemed to start to understand.

    Then my essays and poems got published in books and I personally live happily ever after.

    I still don’t think they understood my stuff and (you guessed it!) I still don’t give a flying kite.

    • That’s pretty awesome, that you got published! Yes, when you try to be poetic and stuff, people tend to go like ‘why have you done that?’ and then you’re like ‘because I wanted to?’.

      Glad you’re living happily ever after :).


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