I recently ran across a question that I found interesting. Someone in an online community asked, “What do you call a poem that doesn’t rhyme?” The answers were disappointing. The first answer said simply, “bad poetry.” Two other people called it “hique.” I can only assume they meant haiku.
Seems to me that there is more to it that that – or there should be. Just because a person chooses not to construct their creative writing within someone else’s definitions and restrictions doesn’t mean that it’s bad. Maybe they just think differently – outside the average patterns. It may mean that they are just more creative than others want them to be.
Truly creative people make society uncomfortable. Society likes people who fit neatly into predetermined slots with no uneven edges or unusual shapes. When they don’t fit into those pre-arranged pigeonholes, Society answers with a hammer, forcing people to fit or be broken and bent. Sad. Think of all the wonderful things we could hear, see and experience if the creative people of the world were encouraged to truly create.
Why are we afraid of creativity? Maybe because we’re afraid that we’ll see how we’ve become a society that fails to value people who are different or who express themselves in ways that are too honest. Maybe it’s because creativity often holds up a mirror to the world and forces us to see ourselves as we really are. That’s why we have TV shows like Big Brother and Survivor and all those other so-called “reality shows.” We don’t want reality. We want anything but reality. We want to feel secure and superior. American society will do almost anything to keep from being real. We’ll buy anything, sell anything, swallow outrageous lies and ignore profound truths if it means that we won’t be inconvenienced or, heaven help us, called to actually do something.
Years ago, I found a reality show with an idea that I really loved. It was a show on BBC called Cast Away. Thirty-six men, women and children were moved to an island in the Outer Hebrides, near Scotland. They were to stay there for a year. The task was not to backstab, cheat and get rid of people. The task was to build a community using the gifts, creativity and personalities of the people. Some lasted the whole year and some didn’t, electing to leave. The cameras captured raw human interaction as people built their lives together. Sometimes it was beautiful and sometimes it was harsh.
I’m not foolish enough to believe that the producers of the BBC show were completely honest or that some things weren’t orchestrated. However, I have to applaud the concept of coming together and building a community instead of finding ways to sabotage one another. Working together, sharing gifts and allowing room for creativity– what a concept!
What do you call a poem that doesn’t rhyme? Call it poetry. Call it creativity. Call it truth. Call it humanity. Just don’t ignore it or try to pigeonhole it. That will do violence to someone’s soul and we will all be the poorer for it.