The Artist As Outsider

By Douglas Eby • 3 min read

Being a misfit or outsider can be distressing or downright painful, especially as a teen, but many artists say it is part of their experience that helps them be more creative.

Anne Rice

Writer Anne Rice talks about being “a bad student, I daydreamed in class, wrote stories in my notebooks. I learned the basics, but most of my active intellectual life was outside of school. It was acutely painful because [my sister and I] felt different, like misfits. Our individuality was almost irrepressible, but I wanted to fit in.”

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Sex and Energy and Creativity

By Douglas Eby • 4 min read

Tracey Emin

“If I was in denial about my sexuality, I’d be in denial about aspects of my work, which deals with personal revelations.” Artist Tracey Emin

“Sexuality is the greatest gift we’ve been given. Its energy is the basis of creativity, love, ambition, desire, life. Sexuality has gotten all these bad raps because it’s so powerful.” Writer Eve Ensler

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Michael Gelb on How To Be More Creative

By Douglas Eby • 4 min read

The Soul Of The Rose - detail

In his writings and presentations about being creative, Michael Gelb addresses many topics, including being sensitive and creative:

“Every sound and every silence provides an opportunity to deepen auditory attunement; but city sounds can be overwhelming and cause us to dull our sensitivity.

“Surrounded by noises from televisions, airplanes, subways and automobiles, most of us ‘tune out’ for self-protection.”

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Is Worry Part of Your Creative Life?

By Douglas Eby • 2 min read

worrier

Probably most of us experience worry, stress and various kinds of anxiety to some extent, but creative people may be especially vulnerable to these mood and health challenges.

As psychologist and creativity coach Eric Maisel notes, “Life produces stress, the artistic personality produces additional stress, creating produces even more stress, and living the artist’s life is the topper!”

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Todd Kashdan on Our Dark Side and Creativity

By Douglas Eby • 2 min read

DarthVader-office-worker

“When we are happy, we are very superficial in our thinking.”

A clinical psychologist, professor and well-being researcher, Todd Kashdan addresses how happiness and “unwanted” emotions affect creative thinking and overall well-being in his book “The Upside of Your Dark Side” – an admittedly ‘provocative’ title that may bring to mind Darth Vader.

What some may label “negative” emotions and ideas are what psychologist Carl Jung and others identify as part of the Shadow Self, which may in varying degrees be shut away from our awareness by active suppression or repression and just not paying attention.

But as artists and others realize, our inner depths – this wealth of emotional and imaginational material – can provide material for creative expression.

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Playing and Being Creative

By Douglas Eby • 2 min read

dolphin-bubble

“Swept up by the deeper states of play, one feels balanced, creative, focused…”

Diane Ackerman is a poet, essayist and naturalist who has taught at a number of universities, including Columbia and Cornell. In her book “Deep Play” she talks about being able to “play anywhere that is set off from reality, whether it be a playground, a field, a church or a garage.

“Deep play doesn’t have to do with an activity, like shallow play. It has to do with attitude or an extraordinarily intense state…”

This is, she notes, a way to experience flow, which enhances creative work:

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Creative In Many Ways

By Douglas Eby • 2 min read

DLJLVM-700x366

Are you inspired to be creative in multiple ways? Many creative people are serial artists or entrepreneurs, multipassionate and multitalented.

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Three Creative Minds: Dolan, Lange, Binoche

By Douglas Eby • 1 min read

Xavier Dolan

Multitalented people often express stimulating perspectives on realizing their creative abilities and passions. Here are comments from three well-known artists.

Xavier Dolan has credits including: Actor, Writer, Producer, Costume designer, and at age 25 has directed five feature films.

He has said “I don’t know that I’m being prolific, I’m just responding, I’m being authentic and I’m just listening to my needs in terms of expression.” …

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Creative People, Mental Health, Misdiagnosis

By Douglas Eby • 4 min read

A full list of talented and creative people who suffer anxiety, depression and other mental health challenges, would, of course, be limitless; being creative, gifted and talented does not exempt any of us from those problems.

Patricia CornwellNovelist Patricia Cornwell is one example of an artist who has experienced mental health issues.

She comments:

“I’ve had my own difficulties. My wiring’s not perfect and there are ways that you can stabilise that. I have certain things that run in my own ancestry.

“It’s not unusual for great artistic people to have bipolar disorder, for example…The diagnosis goes back and forth but I’m pretty sure that I am…I take a mood stabiliser.”

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Alejandro Inarritu on the Creative Process

By Douglas Eby • 2 min read

Edward Norton, Michael Keaton, Alejandro Inarritu

“In the creative process every human being is confronted with doubts and contradictions and flaws…”

Acclaimed for his films including “Amores Perros,” “Babel” and “21 Grams,” Alejandro González Iñárritu has earned a number of award nominations for directing and co-writing “Birdman.”

In a theatre, we can enjoy the results of sometimes hundreds of talented people collaborating on making a movie, but there may be many years of often messy and emotionally challenging creative process that goes into getting a film actually produced and released. Iñárritu has made a number of interesting comments about that process.

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