The Creative Coast’s blogspot is Savannah’s sounding board for local thinkers, innovators, wanderers and wonderers. Guest bloggers share their thoughts, opinions and creative noodling from all over the map. This week’s blog is from Zelda Tenenbaum, a Savannah-based change agent of global proportions, a deep thinker with an ear for what goes unsaid, and a far ranger who is forever bringing back new ideas and concepts to our fair city. Balance your thoughts today with Zelda’s missive….
Savannah is unique. She designs her path without conforming to the pressures of society to be like other cities. She has a soft voice and an introspective style. Many come to party and play in her yard, but she sits under the moss covered live oaks reading her books, recording history and reinventing herself.
Among her heroes are Eli Whitney, Juliette Gordon Low, John Wesley and Flannery O’Conner. People that impacted the greater community of man by what they discovered or created.
Today, Savannah and The Creative Coast = Innovation.
Her gardens, beaches, rivers and islands are all places for reflection. Savannah offers hers to those seeking solitude, time to go within and listen to the creative voice inside.
In her mist, artists, scientists and educators find solitude while walking the paths at Wormsloe or Fort Pulaski. In that solitude, a solution or epiphany comes in the form of a new digital technology, a creation of art or a medical discovery.
One’s inner creativity is revealed on a visit to a barrier island, perhaps Little Tybee or Ossabaw. There, one can hear silence, the source of innovation.
Innovative people go inside themselves for solutions. Steve Wozniak reports that he had to be alone to create the apple computer. Introverted innovators talk and gather data from others, but they need time to synthesize what they have heard. They search for time to think, to research, to create.
Savannah’s leaders had the wisdom to leave, for future generations, a few special places where one can be alone. Even when the beaches of Tybee are crowded, one can find a quiet, isolated spot to sit and reflect.
Cultural history reveals to us that many great thinkers and leaders spent time alone. Among those are Buddha, Walden, Thoreau, Gandhi, Muir, Moses. These leaders presented their thoughts to others, only after they journeyed in the wilderness.
Savannah is no wilderness. She has her extroverted events and functions, but she can also “let people be”. Our institutions often expect people to team up and engage. We rarely say, “Go read a book”. Yet, Savannah offers sites, like the new garden at the Ships of the Sea where one can sit , read, surf the web and be left alone to think. As the world becomes more crowded, places like Savannah will be sought after.
Our open school classrooms and office environments are designed for engagement, yet research shows that many discoveries are made while a person is alone. Are we teaching our children that alone time is ok? Are we letting colleagues have time to think and create?
The value of both extroverted and introverted personality styles, based on the theory of Swiss psychoanalyst Carl Jung, is well researched. One out of every three people is introverted and wondering if it is worth the expenditure of energy to engage. People in large cities spend their days commuting through crowds to work in groups. When do they have time to be alone?
Can Savannah market her introverted, as well as the extroverted side? Both have value to those looking to create and solve problems. We are socialized to be extroverted. The trick, for introverts, is to find away from the busy, interactive world to go to their favorite world, inside themselves.
Savannah has SCAD where students may work alone in front of computers as they design animations. Savannah also has events, like The Savannah Music Festival, that offer venues where one can sing and dance with jazz musicians or quietly observe the dancers and ponder life while listening to the classics.
The Creative Coast can be proud that she has preserved her sense of place that includes both reflection and action opportunities. As a place of beauty, she offers sustainable living in historic neighborhoods, parks, rivers, beaches and marshes. Nature nurtures. From nature comes creative and forward thinking.
Savannah’s decision makers must be careful as we ponder the future and make choices. We could lean too far to be like others and loose what we have. Instead, let’s market our uniqueness and brand.
The Creative Coast has blossomed under the influence of people who were attracted to her beauty. They came here to be. They came to play. They came to learn. They came to create and discover. They brought events worth bringing, conversations worth having and business worth supporting. With respect for the past leaders who have kept what is important to keep, the new leaders are moving Savannah and the Creative Coast forward.
- Are we not one of the top “hip “cities in America?
- Can you ride your bicycle to more places in the city every day?
- Are we proud of Gulfstream aircraft, born in Savannah?
- Are we excited to have so many educational institutions and innovative events to inspire us to develop and grow?
- Have we benefitted from listening to and observing those who came?
The Creative Coast brands Savannah as a place for innovation. People can live and work here and have “ah haa” moments. They can be inspired and inspire. They can live in a community that values and nurtures differences in leadership styles.
Are we there yet?
Awesome people in an awesome place.
The Creative Coast = Innovation.