Archives for January, 2013
Part of the widely-circulated comments by Pearl Buck (winner of a Nobel Prize in Literature in 1938) includes this: "The truly creative mind [feels] the overpowering necessity to create, create, create — so that without the creating of music or poetry or books or buildings or something of meaning, their very breath is cut off… By some strange, unknown, inward urgency they are not really alive unless they are creating.” That "inward urgency" is a common quality of accomplished creative people. Director Kathryn Bigelow wrote in praise of her lead actress Jessica Chastain in "Zero Dark Thirty" :
There are many ideas in the Creative Mind posts - not to mention all over the Internet - for how to develop creativity. It can be helpful to make use of some of the most basic concepts. “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” Leonardo da Vinci From post: Thinking Like Leonardo Da Vinci. Gail McMeekin, L.I.C.S.W., M.S.W. is author of a number of books, including The 12 Secrets of Highly Successful Women: A Portable Life Coach for Creative Women, and Boost Your Creativity, Productivity and Profits in 21 Steps. In her article "Creative Catalysts," she lists 25 ideas that are often very simple, but can be powerful strategies to help us be more creative.
In addition to all the destructive consequences that may follow traumatic experience, some people say it also has power to encourage creative expression. The photo is of the late actor Charles Durning (1923–2012) who reportedly appeared in over 200 movies, television shows and plays. In World War II, he was severely wounded by shrapnel, and also engaged a very young German soldier in hand-to-hand combat. After killing the boy, Durning said in an article, he “held him in his arms and wept. He said the memories never left him, even when performing, even when he became, however briefly, someone else.” Can this kind of trauma, which often leads to PTSD, have any positive impact on creative imagination and expression? In her provocatively titled post Does Trauma Increase Creativity?, Laura K Kerr reports on a study that, she notes, "suggests there may be a connection between creativity and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
"Writing is so difficult, that if it doesn’t heal you in the doing of it it isn’t worth the trouble." That is a quote by massage therapist, author, artist and teacher Cynthia Waring. In her book and one-woman play, both titled “Bodies Unbound”, she relates the story of her life and growth as a therapist and artist, her journey of self-discovery and healing from childhood trauma and abuse. In the process, she invites the audience and reader to see how ordinary life is the perfect process for transformation and actualization.
How does the intensity, complexity and "border-crossing" of creative people encourage being more creative? Creative people often have personalities and inner experiences that are intense and beyond ordinary in multiple ways. [Read Part 1.] Creativity author and teacher Ken Robinson thinks "To realize our true creative potential—in our organizations, in our schools and in our communities—we need to think differently about ourselves and to act differently towards each other. We must learn to be creative.” [From post: Reclaiming Our Creativity – Part 2.] One part of learning to be more creative is to encourage shifting between convergent and divergent thinking.
Creative people often have personalities and inner experiences that are intense and beyond ordinary in multiple ways. "I’ve been accused of being ‘too much’ all my life. Too loud, too fast, too smart, too multi-talented, too audacious." Writing and creativity coach Cynthia Morris goes on to write, "I’ve never been able to live according to that external standard of ‘just right’…It’s the job of the artist and writer to reflect what they see and feel. This expression of their art and talents must be larger than life." From her article Creative People Shouldn’t ‘Tone It Down’ - where I also used this photo of Sarah Bernhardt (1844 – 1923), a French stage and film actress, who has been referred to as "the most famous actress the world has ever known." [Wikipedia] In a post on her Creative Synthesis blog, Lisa Rivero refers to the creative research and writing of Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, who "studied the lives of over 90 eminent creative producers and thinkers to learn what they had in common."
In a recent Creativity Post article, science writer Sam McNerney provides a stimulating and encouraging overview of a "renaissance in creativity in both the lab and the pages of popular books and magazines." He says that "Cognitive flexibility, the ability to switch between thinking about two concepts or consider multiple perspectives simultaneously" is a "popular topic in the neuroscience world." Darya Zabelina, a creativity researcher at Northwestern University told him “a lot of people are studying cognitive flexibility from a lot of different perspectives."
It may be advice often given to writers, but is the idea to "write what you know" always understood, and valuable for creating good work? In his post “Write what you know” – the most misunderstood piece of good advice, ever., Jason Gots comments that writer Nathan Englander "says that 'write what you know' is one of the best and most misunderstood pieces of advice, ever. "It paralyzes aspiring authors into thinking that authenticity in fiction means thinly veiled autobiography. If you’re a drunken, brawling adventurer, like Hemingway, no problem. "But Englander, who grew up in the Orthodox Jewish community of West Hempstead, New York, says he spent a lot of his childhood watching TV, playing videogames, and dreaming about being a writer. Was he required to write about the Atari 2600?"