Question on Creativity and Backpacker Post 8: San Francisco, California

  I want to start this post in a somewhat different way to my others due to an interesting encounter. When we first arrived in San Francisco we intended to spend our first night with a guy that was a friend of someone Rob had met in a hostel over on the Appalachian Trail. His name was Rumple Stiltskin. He legally changed his name to this but now really only goes by Rumple. Rumple is a hippie who lives on a boat. Even though technically Rumple lives in Sausalito and not San Francisco he is a part of a large generation of followers of the rich hippie culture that San Francisco is well known for.
  Rumple liked to "jam". This is not a new concept to me, I've lived with many musicians and music enthusiasts (and count myself amongst them!) but I'm not the most spontaneous of people so it takes me a while to get into "jams". Rumple played many instruments on his boat and sang in a tribal way and painted in a way that he described as "I just want to be free man." (When asked free from what he couldn't really say...) Rob is a musician and when they jammed Rumple attempted to get me to join in by telling me that the constraints I put on myself were "crippling my creativity", I tried but it just wasn't my thing! I'm simply not the kind of person to come up with a beat and start singing random lyrics in the space of a few seconds. 

Rumple then told me I am "crippled creatively".
Needless to say this rather upset me!  I'm sure there are many creative people that work in a spontaneous way, but to say to an artist that the way they work is creatively flawed I think is a big problem indeed. Incredibly beautiful works of art and design come from structure, planning, working with constraints and roughs as well as from spontaneous putting pen to paper or stone or whatever medium and working in an immediate unstructured way. In my opinion an artist/designer's way of "being creative" is a very personal thing indeed.

But am I wrong? do you think that one is indeed better than the other? I'd like to hear what you think and how you work in the comments or if you'd like send me an email (

Anyway, San Francisco. It's a hell of a place and 5 days simply wasn't long enough. We had an incredible host for the rest of our stay. A Grateful Deadhead, ex political science teacher from Berkeley. An incredibly nice interesting guy called Mike. He took us out to Santa Cruz to see the old beach town and little hidden hydrangea covered villages on the way, to Oakland to see an amazing collection of 1960s protest posters and a wonderful couple of exhibitions, one on Dan Clowes and one on a seminal year in the 1960s. He had a real passion for San Francisco and its history, and I totally fell for its beautiful quirky buildings, hidden views of the Golden Gate bridge and the laid back California vibe I'd been waiting to feel!


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