Editorial: Aug. 6, 2012

Jamestown Gazette Editor Walt Pickut

The Creative Spark

Creativity doesn’t care where it strikes a spark, as long as somebody is there to catch the flame. It doesn’t take well to being pushed or pulled…it just needs freedom for something to catch fire.

Peggy Fleming, the 1968 Olympic Gold Medal Champion in Ladies’ singles ice skating and three-time World Champion, thanks her childhood violin practice for sparking the creativity that blossomed later, so magnificently, in her figure skating.

A slow learning student may be clueless, until the coach tosses her a basketball, a music teacher hands him a horn and says “blow” or a college teacher asks a distracted frat boy, “Ever hear of poetry?”

This week the Jamestown Gazette introduces you to some of the best “flammable” material for the mind in all of New York State.

Consider a high school student without a detectable goal in life… not such an unusual a scenario at the age of 17. If he or she encountered an environment like Jamestown Community College, sparks could fly. Peer age students who are passionate about the arts, the sciences behind saving the world, the adventure of criminal justice in an age of too much chaos just might share a spark of creative genius, ignite a passion that can enrich a lifetime. A college can be a thrilling and life changing place. Join the chat that begins on our front page this week with the people who have dedicated their careers to making Jamestown Community College and Olympic torch of enlightenment in Western New York.

Then consider two young people whose roots arose in war torn Southeast Asia, brother and sister, Arian and Ivory. Their family, after accepting a generous sponsorship to come to America, still had to do what all families do: Eat. The brother and sister, however, discovered the fine art of cooking while pitching in to feed their family. That creative spark inspired them, more than 20 years later, to create two of Chautauqua’s most innovative, authentically Thai restaurants serving haute cuisine unparalleled anywhere in the region. A simple spark ignited a great passion.

Then, just for fun, take Vicki McGraw’s advice, offered from her own kitchen this week: “…as I always do, I encourage you to be adventurous!” Have you ever tried melon soup? Or Monster Cupcakes? The creative spark glows brightest in a spirit of adventure, whether in cooking or anything else.

Comedienne Gilda Radner said, “While we have the gift of life, it seems to me the only tragedy is to allow part of us to die – whether it is our spirit, our creativity or our glorious uniqueness.”

This week, take our advice and look for your own creative spark. You never know what might catch fire in your heart and mind.

Enjoy the read.

Walt Pickut


The Jamestown Gazette

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Walt Pickut
Walt Pickut’s writing career began with publishing medical research in1971 while working at the Jersey City Medical Center and the NYU Hospital and School of Medicine. Walt holds board registries in respiratory care and sleep technology as well as bachelor's degrees in biology and communication, and a master's degrees in physiology from Fairleigh-Dickinson University in New Jersey, with additional graduate work in mass communication completed at SUNY Amherst. He currently teaches Presentational Speaking in the Houghton College PACE program at JCC and holds memberships in the Society of Professional Journalists and the American Society of Business Publication Editors. He lives in Jamestown with his wife Nancy, an MSW social worker, and has three children: Dr. Cait Lamberton in Pittsburgh, Bill Pickut, a marketing executive in Chicago, and Rev. Matt Pickut in Plymouth, IN.