Creativity Quiz #2…With My Dad

I guess it goes without saying that any creative adult had a creative influencer early on in life. For me it was my dad. When I was in first grade he cast me in my first play as Tiny Tim in A Christmas Carol. Since then we have done countless shows together, even up until just a few years ago. He always had books around; always came to the haunted houses and plays that we made up when we were kids; always encouraged coloring a sunset purple because that’s the way it looked.

My dad, David Eggebrecht, is a:

  • Writer
  • Painter
  • Director
  • World Traveler
  • Literature Professor
  • Movie Buff
  • Voracious Reader
  • Shakespeare Expert
  • And now…even a Blogger (you can read his blog here)

Though he is “retired,” he still goes into the office at Concordia University — Wisconsin every day where he continues to teach, write plays, paint, and direct college plays and musicals. He was the Academic Dean there for over twenty years.

I think my dad was a Renaissance Man even before there was such a thing.

So, here goes. Seven questions for my dad.

Tom: Define creativity.

Dave: The ability to look beyond the mundane and see the extra and the special in an object, an event, or a situation.

Tom: When did you first realize that you were “creative”?

Dave: Good question – I think when I was in Kindergarten and was asked to be Tiny Tim in a church production of A Christmas Carol. (Ed. Do you sense a theme here?) That got the juices flowing when I realized I could be someone/something beyond myself.

Tom: How do you cultivate your creativity?

Dave: I read a lot; I make up situations; I write to see what happens; I paint to see what happens; I work with a lot of really creative people.

Tom: How do you handle a creative block?

Dave: Leave it alone for a while, and it’ll come home, wagging its tail behind it. That’s true – go away from whatever, physically and/or mentally, then come back at it again later with what Robert Frost called “a new think.” Or just try a different approach.

Tom: When and where do you do your most creative work?

Dave: In my cave at my computer, but I can be creative anywhere with pen or pencil in hand.

Tom: Who is your “creative inspiration”? Why?

Dave: Grandpa Eggebrecht (Ed. Dave’s father) for one thing – he was great with his hands at creating things.  Herb Arkebauer, my speech and drama teacher in high school – a very creative person whom I patterned my life after.  He was always fun to be around he had so many creative ideas.  Currently, probably John Dolphin (Career Stage Lighting Designer and founder of Mid-West Scenic), Steve Nibbe (Actor and High School Drama Teacher in the Madison, WI, area; once a student of Dave’s), Barb Gensler (Renowned in the Milwaukee area as a High School Drama Professional at Shorewood High School), creative people I have the pleasure of working with.

Tom: What advice do you have for aspiring “creatives”?

Dave: Keep an open mind, be willing to try, do, think new things, look at things with a different perspective, give whatever it is a “new think.”

What do you think of Dave’s ideas about creativity? Any new insights?

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6 thoughts on “Creativity Quiz #2…With My Dad

  1. Very fascinating series of interviews on creativity. It seems that creativity involves a certain fearlessness to see purple when the masses are seeing an amber sunset.

  2. Thanks! I would add one caveat about the "individual" versus the "masses." I tire of the creative person who instinctively thinks that being an individual means creating art whose purpose is to shock the masses. It is much more creative to find beauty out of ugly things -or grace as the poet Bono has said.

  3. My mentor and inspiration was and still is Dave Eggebrecht. He invited me to participate even before I was a student and continues to give me opportunities to learn and grow. I have been able to enjoy a career in the theatre because of Dave's encouragement and support.

    • It's always affirming for a child to see that their parent/s have people who look up to them, and have been mentored by them. It leads to appreciation and a deeper understanding of the wisdom, creativity, and care of our parents. Thanks, Steve!