Anna-Leena Harkonen


Ronny Enzenberg 


Silence of the Snow

I was once invited to speak at a conference about creativity. I decided to be honest, which turned out to be counter to the spirit of the event.

I said that I didn’t subscribe to the trendy notion of all work being creative if you have the right attitude. Raking leaves in the backyard is not creative. You can think creatively while raking, but the raking in itself is not creative.

Nor is washing dishes in a restaurant kitchen, no matter how you look at it. Go tell the dish washer that “it’s all about your attitude,” and you will see flying plates.

I UNDERSTAND THAT my viewpoint may have come across as complacent and narrow-minded. My speech met with a chilly reception, and I had to beg for two months before they finally paid me.

I don’t know what creativity is. I only know what creativity is not.

Cynicism is not creativity. Everything sucks, but is that really a go-tell-it-on-the-mountain message? Creativity empowers us to overcome world-weariness, I think.

CREATIVITY, of course, does not come for free. You have to endure hellish loneliness—nothing or no one helps. Sometimes a miracle happens: for a fleeting moment, you feel connected to someone. Only to be reminded of what you are missing.

Then you are thrown back inside your head. Into loneliness. The silence of the snow.

Perhaps I’m exaggerating. Perhaps I’m trying to lay claim to something that belongs to everyone. Whoever loneliness belongs to, it is not pleasant.

FOR ME, THIS IS creativity. Writing.

Nothing in this world is as rewarding and fulfilling as creating a sentence where the words and punctuation seem to be in their perfect places, even if only for a moment. 

Anna-Leena Harkonen

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