How to Stimulate Creativity

Forty-odd years ago the most respected and certainly one of the most famous authors in America ofered to teach a class in one of the ivy league coleges. The university notified its alumni of the course, which was to be in creative writing. The response was far beyond wildest expectations. So many students wanted the benefit of this great man’s knowledge that the colege auditorium had to be used as a classroom. The semester began and the great day was at hand.

The auditorium was filed to overflowing. Al the students, pencil and notebook in hand, waited in hushed and excited anticipation. The famous man strode out to the lectern, leaned upon it, looked out upon a sea of faces intent on what he was about to say. He took of his eyeglasses, hufed on them gently, wiped them for a bit, seeming to heighten the almost electric energy in the air. He replaced his spectacles carefuly, cleared his throat, and then asked a question: “How many of you truly want to be writers?”

One could have stroled across the auditorium on the tips of the upraised hands. Not a single arm remained upon the owner’s lap. The great man was quiet for a long moment. He walked to the center of the stage, stopped, placed his hands arrogantly upon his hips and commenced to speak: “Then why aren’t you at home writing?”

With that Sinclair Lewis turned, strode of the platform, out of the auditorium, of the campus, and was never to be seen at that university again.

That was the entire creative writing course.