I enjoy watching the speakers at TED. TED is Technology, Entertainment, Design, and the lectures encompass some amazing topics such as Global Warming, to music, science, happiness, and one of my favorite topics…creativity.
Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia, spoke on the topic of Creativity; A New Way to Think About Creativity. (See video below)
This author points out how creativity touches upon something very mystical, almost paranormal, how creativity is perceived by both writers and society as a whole. History tells us creative inspiration was regarded as divine intervention. Artists, writers, and poets were touched by the gods or muses. I found even more profound the word ‘genius’ meant divine nature within someone. So they would have a genius, which evolved into they being a genius. So it went from touched by an outside force of God(s), to a personal skill or gift.
Gilbert shares in the video how she met the poet Ruth Stone who told her how as a girl, working in the fields of her home, the poem often came as a force, a ‘thunderous train of air’ and how the earth shook beneath her feet. She would then run to the house to find pen and paper, chased by this poem, in order to capture this element before it moved on to ‘find another poet’.
I think its an intriguing thought, this idea of writer’s spirits of inspiration who come to inspire if only for a short time. The Greeks believed you could invoke them, known then as muses. Bob Bly author of No Plot? No Problem!: A Low-Stress, High-Velocity Guide to Writing a Novel in 30 Days(organizers of the infamous National Novel Writing Month) also shares in his book how you can do rituals and take action to self-inspire. Donning a special hat, lighting a candle, even saying a prayer or affirmation out loud can help.
I think most writers would agree the spark of creativity comes and goes as if a will of its own. Those gifted moments of clarity and inspiration seem so fleeting. I’ve had such moments myself, where chapter after chapter of words flow unbidden, only to turn to dribbling mediocrity the next day. Many of my fellow writers know exactly the horror that is writer’s block.
Here is the video so you can judge for yourself if the topic is worth for consideration. Gilbert does a marvelous job, I think