Thursday, March 12, 2009

A different way to think about creative genius

Another great TED lecture on creativity, this one by Elizabeth Gilbert who wrote EAT, PRAY, LOVE. She talks about success and the impossible expectations we impose on artists. It's inspiring and really funny and smart and spiritual, just like Elizabeth herself.

Sometimes what follows a brilliant performance in dance, say, or an author's first novel hitting the bestsellers list, is anguish. There is a belief secretly harboured by the artist that maybe once executed this thing can't ever again be duplicated, that expectations can never again be met. Elizabeth says that maybe one doesn't have to be quite so full of despair. That perhaps there is a glimpse of the divine (or at least, a "divine cockeyed genius") in all great creative work, and we just have to view it in a different light.

"If you never happen to believe in the first place, that the most extraordinary aspects of your being came from you, but maybe if you just believed they were on loan to you, you know, from some unimaginable source, for some exquisite portion of your life to be passed along, when you're finished with somebody else."

Dance. Write. You might be touched by the divine, or not.

But just do it. And don't ever stop.


Laura Bradbury said...

Dear Pam,

I cannot thank you enough for this. I listened to the whole thing just after sitting down at my desk this morning.

This (combined with your previous post)provided me with some very timely and much-needed perspective. Before I opened your blog I was in the mental process of winding myself up into a ball of despair and anxiety (radio station K-FCKED, as Anne Lamott puts it, was on full blast).

I have been submitting recently, but so far have had no bites, I am working on a WIP that I am often disenchanted with, and to top it off the second wave of bookings (vacation rentals - the other dimension of my life) that I normally get this time of year isn't materializing.

I woke up this morning wondering if the seeds I have been laboring to sow over the past few months weren't rotten to begin with.

Your blog helped turn this terribly detsructive thought process around. I realized that it is my job to simply keep sowing the seeds - what happens after that is in the hands of the divine.

Love you Pam xo
Extra big bisous and mercis this morning.

Laura xo

BB said...

Loved this post - of course I still have no sound on my computer so just took in the words (which was enough really - and just what I needed!).

I know I must write properly... I have so many ideas and so much 'noise' going on with all my 'other life' stuff. Time is my demon. I must be patient.

*Deep breath*

A Novel Woman said...

Laura, you have so much talent it leaves me breathless sometimes. Keep going, don't give up. Everything is so much sweeter if you have to put in a little effort first. Bisous right back.

BB, it's tough to have enough time for you when the kidlets are young, and I know it's a cliche to say this, but it really does go by in a snap so really savour it. And if you can, arrange to take one tiny chunk out of every day for your writing, even if it's only 30 minutes. You'll be happy you did.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Pam, for posting that.

For me, it has been a process of just continuing to do the next right thing and somehow it all comes together. Not in my time, mind you, but in the time it was intended.

Laura, I so feel your pain. There have been times when I felt that nothing would work out, that all of my efforts would be for naught. I was lucky though, to have others tell me to just keep moving forward. I did, and I eventually met with success.

Faith, to follow through on what my gut tells me to do, works every time.

Thanks again, Pam.

Kathleen in VA