Creativity is inherently anti-authoritarian. As in: to be successfully creative, you have to shed the part of yourself that desperately wants reassurance. It’s only then that you can escape cliche and escape paradigmatic thinking.
“If a person’s behavior doesn’t make sense to you,” they write, “it is because you are missing a part of their context. It’s that simple.”
“After learning my flight was detained 4 hours, I heard the announcement: if anyone in the vicinity of gate 4-A understands any Arabic, please come to the gate immediately. Well—one pauses these days. Gate 4-A was my own gate. I went there. An older woman in full traditional Palestinian dress, just like my grandma wore, was crumpled to the floor, wailing loudly. Help, said the flight service person. Talk to her. What is her problem? We told her the flight was going to be four hours late and she did this. I put my arm around her and spoke to her haltingly. Shu dow-a, shu-biduck habibti, stani stani schway, min fadlick, sho bit se-wee? The minute she heard any words she knew—however poorly used—she stopped crying. She thought our flight had been canceled entirely. She needed to be in El Paso for some major medical treatment the following day. I said no, no, we’re fine, you’ll get there, just late. Who is picking you up? Let’s call him and tell him. We called her son and I spoke with him in English. I told him I would stay with his mother until we got on the plane and would ride next to her—Southwest. She talked to him. Then we called her other sons just for the fun of it. Then we called my dad and he and she spoke for a while in Arabic and found out, of course, they had ten shared friends. Then I thought just for the heck of it why not call some Palestinian poets I know and let them chat with her. This all took up about 2 hours. She was laughing a lot by then. Telling about her life. Answering questions. She had pulled a sack of homemade mamool cookies—little powdered sugar crumbly mounds stuffed with dates and nuts—out of her bag—and was offering them to all the women at the gate. To my amazement, not a single woman declined one. It was like a sacrament. The traveler from Argentina, the traveler from California, the lovely woman from Laredo—we were all covered with the same powdered sugar. And smiling. There are no better cookies. And then the airline broke out the free beverages from huge coolers—non-alcoholic—and the two little girls from our flight, one African American, one Mexican American—ran around serving us all apple juice and lemonade, and they were covered with powdered sugar, too. And I noticed my new best friend—by now we were holding hands—had a potted plant poking out of her bag, some medicinal thing with green furry leaves. Such an old country traveling tradition. Always carry a plant. Always stay rooted to somewhere. And I looked around that gate of late and weary ones and thought, this is the world I want to live in. The shared world. Not a single person in this gate—once the crying of confusion stopped—has seemed apprehensive about any other person. They took the cookies. I wanted to hug all those other women, too. This can still happen anywhere. Not everything is lost.”
∆ Naomi Shihab Nye (b. 1952), “Wandering Around an Albuquerque Airport Terminal.”
All my life I have spent dreaming. All my life I have been wishing on stars and aching over sunsets, conjuring up some great big world, so far away from wherever it is that I was. I always fantasised about being somebody else, knowing that this elusive "somebody else" was just an optimal version of myself. I've always been allured by my own potential I suppose, and the potential of people that I thought I would meet. These people were ideas: they represented beliefs, extraordinary ways of life that I hoped would enter into dialogue with my own and pull me out of a deep ocean.