Archives for November, 2012


Jessica Chastain, High Sensitivity, Crying and Creative People

"I'm very sensitive in real life. I cannot not cry if someone around me is crying...even if it's not appropriate. I have that thing in me, a weakness or sensitivity." Jessica Chastain
She is such a powerful, dynamic and emotionally expressive actor, in films including "The Tree of Life"; "The Debt"; "Lawless," and "The Help," for which she was nominated for an Oscar.

Jessica Chastain has made other comments about herself that relate to high sensitivity, as well as being introverted and shy:

"I'm inspired by people who are so sensitive and vulnerable that they try to cover it up."

[on rehearsals] "They'll say, Save it, save it. I tell them: Don't worry. I have a bottomless well of tears."

"I'm not the girl at the club on the table. I'm going to be the one in the corner, quiet and so I don't call attention to myself."

"I was the girl who cut school to go to the park, and the other kids would be smoking and drinking and I'd be reading Shakespeare."

"I walk the dogs, I play the ukulele, I cook. I'm not a girl who goes to big parties--I'm shy."

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Oliver Sacks, Hallucinations and Creativity

Both naturalistic and out of the ordinary sensory experiences have inspired artistic creation since our cave painting days.

In the Introduction to his book on the topic, neurologist Oliver Sacks notes that in the early sixteenth century, the term hallucination meant simply “a wandering mind.”

He explains that "in general, hallucinations are quite unlike dreams. Hallucinations often seem to have the creativity of imagination, dreams, or fantasy — or the vivid detail and externality of perception.

"But hallucination is none of these, though it may share some neurophysiological mechanisms with them."

He says his favorite definition is that given by early psychologist William James: “An hallucination is a strictly sensational form of consciousness, as good and true a sensation as if there were a real object there. The object happens to be not there, that is all.”

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Creative Thinking

Perfectionism and Creative Thinking

"I'm a maniacal perfectionist. And if I weren't, I wouldn't have this company. It's the best rap!"
Martha Stewart added, "I have proven that being a perfectionist can be profitable and admirable when creating content across the board: in television, books, newspapers, radio, videos... All that content is impeccable." []

Filmmaking and other arts often demand an obsessive attention to detail, and even rely on a certain level or quality of perfectionism in the pursuit of excellence, but perfectionism can also be limiting and destructive.

Actor Michelle Pfeiffer was quoted in an interview: "I'm a perfectionist, so I can drive myself mad -- and other people, too. At the same time, I think that's one of the reasons I'm successful. Because I really care about what I do. I really want it to be right, and I don't quit until I have to."

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Creative Thinking

Mixed Media Artist Pat Autenrieth: “Making art is satisfying on so many levels.”

Pat Autenrieth is a mixed media artist using photography, digital printing, silkscreen, rubbings, rubber stamps, drawing, painting, collage, embroidery, applique, photo dye and quilting.

Her work has been shown at the Museum of American Folk Art in New York, the National Museum of American Art in Washington, and elsewhere.

She was Project artist for American Masterpieces: The American Quilt 2009, Textile Museum, Washington, DC, sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts.

"Making art is a way toward being whole."

She noted in our interview that art is, at least "to some degree" a form of therapy. But, she adds, "I don't know of any working artist who doesn't need to make art in a larger sense. Making art is satisfying on so many levels, that it has got to have a healing effect."

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Creative Thinking

Aeone: “Music Takes You To A Different Level”

Composer and singer Aeone (pronounced “ay-own”) thinks we "come into this life with some obvious gifts, and some not so obvious, and you unfold those as you go.

"I was quite gifted with music as a child, and my mother in particular encouraged me, and I had a lot of female support.”

She feels “music is a business, as well as a creative thing, and you have to have a lot of courage. What gives me courage is not only myself, but also all these people that come along, and get my music, and support it. Both men and women.

"Any man who comes along who isn’t afraid to watch the wild woman come out,” she laughs.

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Creative Thinking

Developing Creativity and Innovation: Think More Abstractly

Creative problem solving is enhanced by thinking more abstractly or at an intellectual distance, rather than more concretely, according to research studies.

In my post Using Research to Enhance Creative Thinking – Part 2, I quoted from the article “15 Scientific Facts About Creativity” which notes that “psychological distance” facilitates creativity, and “when hitting a creative snag, the best thing thinkers can do for themselves is step away and try to look at everything from a completely different point of view."

Evan Polman of New York University and Kyle Emich of Cornell University devised four studies on this creative strategy, with results published in their paper: "Decisions for others are more creative than decisions for the self" [Abstract].

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Responding Creatively to Disaster and Turmoil

Like other people, those in the arts often respond quickly to disasters like hurricanes.

Doing a Google search for "celebrity response to hurricane sandy" I located a recent Tweet by Jennifer Lopez ‏@JLo: If you need a safe place to stay, shelter info avail. in #RedCross HurricanApp #Sandy

This evening is a broadcast of "Hurricane Sandy: Coming Together" - a "star-studded benefit telethon to aid victims of Hurricane Sandy, hosted by Matt Lauer with performances by Christina Aguilera, Jon Bon Jovi, Bruce Springsteen and more! Donations benefit the Red Cross relief efforts." [Photo from the website.]

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