Creative fuel


Sometimes when I need a creative boost as a writer, I’ll get around people who are hyper-creative in other fields. Photographers, videographers, artists, musicians, designers, inventors, entrepreneurs. People who look at life differently and deeply … who see things that others miss. Sometimes those are people I know. Other times I know them only through what they’ve created.

During last weekend’s ice and snow event here in Texas, my wife and I spent a little extra Netflix time and stumbled onto “Ragamuffin.” It’s a film about the life of Rich Mullins. Three days later, I’m still thinking about it. What walloped me was not so much Rich’s music — though he might have been the best songwriter of his generation. It certainly wasn’t the film’s quality — better than most Christian films but still not great. It was Rich’s words, delivered almost verbatim from talks he gave at his concerts.

Rich liked to challenge conventional thinking, especially within the church. Legalism and false piety made him crazy. He always brought the message of Christianity back to the simple truth that Jesus loves us, no matter what.

Mitch McVicker, the band member who was with Rich when he died, calls him “The greatest communicator of grace that I’ve known.”

Here’s another good look at Rich Mullins’ life in a documentary film called “Homeless Man.”

Then, once the ice melted last weekend, several of us attended the Southwestern Photojournalism Conference in Fort Worth. Saturday night’s keynote speaker was photographer Dave Black. His topic: passion.

Dave’s passion isn’t fueled by seeing his work published — and this is a guy who covered 12 Olympics for Sports Illustrated. “Adrenalin comes from the joy of making a picture,” he said.

In other words, it’s about the creative process — not the audience’s response. Often, though, one naturally follows the other.

Artists express what’s hard for others to put into words. We need them to make us think, to challenge us and to get our own creative side moving again.

Who or what puts you into a creative mode?

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