I know that I am not alone when I say that Dr. Seuss was a brilliant writer and illustrator of children’s books. I’ve always enjoyed reading his books to children and my fascination with sounds makes it all the more enjoyable to listen to the subtle music his words create. As I’ve developed a definition and philosophy of creativity in my life, I’ve come to realize the books of Dr. Seuss exemplify true creativity. (See What is Creativity?)

Because creativity is so important in our teaching, composing, and everyday life, I wanted to share some examples from a great Dr. Seuss text.

Creativity Exemplified by Dr. Seuss

My current favorite book is “Oh the Thinks You Can Think!” I love this book because it assumes that creativity is in everyone and his suggested “thinks” are again a recombination of things that already exist. Here’s an example:

You can think about red.
You can think about pink.
You can think up a horse.
Oh, the THINKS you can think!

Now, this might not seem to be that “creative” since we all know what red is, pink is, and what a horse is. But, if you look at the novel picture that he drew when he recombined those existing elements, you’ll see what I mean by Dr. Seuss exemplifying creativity:

Oh, The Thinks You Can Think!

Is this what you imagined when he said, “pink, red, and horse?”

As another example in the same book,

you can think up
if only you try!
If you try,
you can think up
a GUFF going by.

And you don’t have to stop.
You can think about SCHLOPP.
Schlopp. Schlopp. Beautiful schlopp.
Beautiful schlopp
with a cherry on top.

Dr. Seuss just recombined existing elements

Dr. Seuss was wonderful creating creatures and objects which do not exist, but as you look at his illustrations, you can see that each of his creatures and objects simply contain things that already exist combined in new ways. What is Schlopp? Why, it looks like a wonderful cake like dessert with ice cream in the center, pickles (?) on the side, accompanied by a drink of some popcorn-looking blue, pink, and white chunks. Obviously, his illustration is much more affective in helping us understand schlopp than my mundane explanation, but you understand my point I am sure. You must correctly define what creativity really is before you truly be creative.

Oh, The Thinks You Can Think!

I often take a break to read a Dr. Seuss book if I am feeling a bit dull in my creative efforts. Since most of his books are written for children, its helpful for me as a teacher to read them periodically just to remember how fun using your imagination can be. I find that I connect with my young students much better when I am actively using my imagination as well.

I hope this posts encourages you to use your own creativity in teaching or composing. You might also read Am I Creative? for more thoughts on this.  And if you find yourself still thinking that you are not creative, please let these words of Dr. Seuss encourage you:

Think left and think right
and think low and think high.
Oh the thinks you can think up if only you try!