Creativity: It Matters

One of my favorite movies of ALL TIME is P.S. I Love You. Despite the fact that the "hero" is dead before the movie starts, the romance of the story is sweeping and poignant. Doesn't hurt that Gerard Butler plays Gerry Kennedy, the hero. Eye-candy is always a positive! (And Jeffrey Dean Morgan adds more to the hotness quotient mid-way through the movie! Oh, and there's Harry Connick, Jr. too! But I digress....)

But aside from all the romance and gorgeous men, there's another reason I love this movie. Gerry's message to Holly, his widow, in the letters that come to her following his death have a message of hope and creativity that slowly but surely bring her back to life. See, Gerry knows Holly. He knows what she wants, deep down in her soul. He knows what would make her happy, and he wants to see her strive to make it a reality.

In the second half of the movie, Holly and her girlfriends go on a trip to Ireland (Gerry's native country), prearranged by Gerry before his death. While there, she visits his parents, and in the course of their conversation, Gerry's mother produces a letter for Holly, from Gerry. At this point neither Holly nor the viewer is surprised, as Gerry's letters have cropped up in numerous places and situations prior. But this one is the crux of Gerry's message to Holly, and in the process of Holly reading the letter, the viewer is treated to a flashback of how Holly and Gerry met. She, an American tourist in Ireland, was lost as she walked through Wicklow National Forest. He, a native Irishman, helps her find her way back to her B&B. It's a beautiful scene... and contains the following William Blake quote that has since become one of my very favorites. Words to live by, in my creative heart.

I must create a system or be enslaved by another man's;
I will not reason or compare:
my business is to create.

As they walked along the little Irish road together, Holly fumbled her way through the quote, trying to impress Gerry with her vast knowledge! But the point she made was clear. She wanted to create. She didn't know what... she just knew she wanted to create and put something of herself out there in the world. For the first time, we see Holly as a the free-spirit that she really is... the wildly imaginative soul that exists within her. As often happens, life got in the way, and Holly became consumed with paychecks and bill-paying and plan-making... all important things, for sure... but she lost sight of that spark inside her. And from beyond the grave, Gerry wants to bring it back.

I wish I could've found a video clip to share, here within this post, but I had no luck. I did, however, come across a transcript of the movie, and found the exact words I wanted to share. After the flashback scene, in which we see Gerry and Holly meet for the first time - and Holly quoting William Blake - the scene comes back to the "present", as Holly sits in Gerry's parents' backyard, reading the letter Gerry had left for her. In the last part of the letter, he reminisces about the day they met, and how his life changed that day. He says:

Life had changed as I knew it. And now it’s changed again, luv. See, I don’t worry about you remembering me… it’s that girl on the road you keep forgetting. ‘My business is to create. It doesn’t even matter what you do.’ You told me that, remember? So go home. Go find it. Find that thing that makes you like nobody else.”

He knew. He knew that it was the creative side of her that would bring her back to life, and allow her to move on following his death. I think a lot of us (me included) sometime discount just how powerful that part us is... and how important it can be to our physical and mental health.

Holly returns to NYC and chases... and achieves... her dream of being a shoe designer. As she says in a letter she writes to Gerry at the close of the movie, “This is my one and only life. And it’s a great and terrible and short and endless thing... and none of us come out of it alive.” In other words, she's going for it!

There's a lot of Holly in me. I'm that girl who's had that drive to create all my life. The one who's happiest and most at home when I'm writing, singing, reading, cooking... and various other creative outlets. And I'm also that girl who sometimes forgets. The one who gets caught up in the "stuff" of life, and doesn't remember to make time to create. But I'm also the girl who knows how important it is to nurture that part of myself so I don't lose it forever.

So today is a reminder to the Holly in all of us, that the creative part of ourselves is SO important... important enough to merit our time, our energy, and our honor. Don't be the Holly at the beginning of the movie... be the Holly at the end of the movie. The one who knows exactly who she is and what she's meant to do. CREATE!


  1. Amy, what a beautiful article. Your sentiments are inspiring. Thanks for the uplifting thoughts.

  2. Definitely! I think I would shrivel up and die if I couldn't express myself in all the ways I do. Very well said Amy.

  3. Amy:
    Beautiful post and I love that movie. It's one of my favorites though the critics trashed it.
    What do they know?

    I'm that girl too. And I'm living the dream right now in between teaching college classes and subbing. I'm hard at it.
    Who knew that living a dream could be so much work!!