Updated: May 11, 2020
Create (v): to bring into being, cause to exist; to produce where there was nothing
That is the definition, but what is the heart, the very essence of this word? What does it mean, deep at its very core? Since I presume to have a blog named Create Space, and I like to begin at the beginning, I felt compelled to look up the word. Where? My grandfather’s famous voice booms in my ears: “Oxford English Dictionary!” Of course, he’s been dead for 15 years, but no matter. He is the one who introduced me to reading The Classics, to writing poetry, and to all that is correct in the English language. Growing up, my pronunciation and word usage was constantly corrected by both of my grandparents, which may be why I am still so fixated on words. I wanted to see the word concretely, objectively, before questioning its deeper undertones, before searching for its beginning. I wanted to know what spark ignited inside a human to inspire the creation of this word. What caused it to exist? This curiosity and desire to explore led me to look beyond the above definition, beyond its verb form.
Create (adj): obsolete “Whether it be…a Create or an Uncreate thyng” (a1425). What?! The fact that this word was first used as an adjective intrigues me, though I can’t quite wrap my mind around using it this way. I turn the words over in my mind “a Create or an Uncreate thing.” It spins inside-out and upside-down inside of me, this new-to-me meaning, now obsolete. Yet still, I can’t quite get it. And I wonder if we’ve lost something irretrievable in our language and culture by removing the word’s ability to describe. What does it say about our current selves that the word “create” is now restricted to action-only? “If Created, then it must necessarily have a Creator” (1678). This last bit, I can grab onto, in its verb and noun forms. But what my intellect, however challenged by this new information, hones in on is the word Creator. This, I can sink my teeth into. Literally. My own flesh is the definition of this word. Me. And you. Us. Together or alone, we humans create. Many, many things. From the very beginning, we have been Creators. This part of our nature hasn’t changed. The materials of our creations have transformed over time and what we create changes with each turn of the Earth, each tick of the second hand on the clocks on our walls or the Fitbits on our wrists. We are Creators! I revel in this knowledge, the same way I revel in the taste of butterscotch candy, another leftover from my grandfather. My mind bursts with this new flavor, this reaffirmation that I, too am a Creator. It is my nature, too. I push the dictionary's definition aside and sink back into my own body’s definition of this word. Create. I imagine it as a flower that is about to bloom but is still in bud form. Or a seed germinating beneath the soil. It is a spring crocus, open and ready to receive, yet also giving beauty to the world. It is there constantly, ready and waiting for me to step towards it. Yes, it is action. But it is also passive. Now I begin to understand this word as an adjective: “Whether it be a Create or an Uncreate thyng” (a1425). Not everything is created. Some things just exist. I look out my window at the giant rhododendron bush, at the green of spring growing and spreading around me. Are these Create or Uncreate things? Enough! I snap myself out of this existential reverie. There are no answers to my questions. None that I can know for sure is true, no matter what I believe. But that doesn’t stop me from asking. And just as I set that unanswerable question to rest, another emerges: What do Creators need in order to Create?