Stanley's usual term for his creativity - in the sense of
power to create - was his energy.
The French intellectual writer Julien Gracq (Louis
obituary The Times 30.12.07)),
celebrated for his literary style and the precision of his thought and
language, refused to use the word 'creativity' or 'creation', on the
philosophic grounds that nothing now can be 'created' but only
from what has already been created, and so exists. A so-called
'creative' writer or artist
merely adapts his own experience of what we all
experience in our own way in order to present it in a form he finds
satisfying to himself. Sometimes we others can recognise his
presentation as matching and hopefully expanding our own adaptation of
experience, and thus, in that process, the
adjective 'creative' and the noun 'creation' become meaningless. Each
of us is simply exchanging our knowledge.
Gracq explained his system as : I
start out with a sort of attraction for something, a place or an action
that is very simple, and then it gets complicated. I don't like the
word creation. What I do is recompose elements furnished by memory. I
find it very difficult to use a ready-made setting, a real setting. I
need to redo it, to fashion it in my own way.
Gracq's comments, as will be argued
in this website, so exactly match the 'creativity' (the energy) of Stanley Spencer
that perhaps we too should be wary of using the word in connection with
his work. Or if we have to use it, at least we should have Gracq's
proviso clearly in mind.