Friday, February 13, 2009

About Creative Genius

A delightful discovery, recommended by friend Sabine: the TED site and its speaker series...and the talk on "A different way to think about creative genius" by Elizabeth Gilbert, the wildly successful author of, among others, Eat, Pray, Love, three verbs whose order I regularly forget.

TED is a conference that aims to present "the world's most fascinating thinkers and doers, who are challenged to give the talk of their lives (in 18 minutes)." I never heard of it before today and I now feel I've hit pure cyberchocolate.

Gilbert's talk is about the burden of fear and responsibility that a lot of artists and writers carry because the culture no longer believes in muses and daemons, but puts the whole weight of performance on the poor struggling individual. She considers this situation "odious...and dangerous" and is very funny on the subject.

She compares her situation of writing another book at forty with her greatest success likely behind her to the difficulty of starting out as a writer, when the people you run into all say: aren't you terrified...?

She describes herself as a writer "as a mule," she just keeps on pulling.

The idea is: instead of having to be a genius, just do your job of writing, painting, or whatever; and welcome whatever inexplicable assistance shows up in the form of the genius that can occasionally visit any of us.

Go listen to her on the site. She makes this very relieving idea charmingly hilarious and companionable.

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kenju said...

I've now read two of her books and that quote (do your job) is so typical of her. I will check out the TED site.

Thanks so much for becoming my "follower"! I am honored.

Anonymous said...

TED is my inspirational heroin and my favorite website. It was there first heard Jill Bolte Taylor "My stroke of insight." It is 18 minutes long and worth every minute. She is a neuroanatomist, who describes having a stroke in left and right brain terms, science vs spirituality, and our power to choose either one.
I have listened to it in times of desparation and joy, showed it to my staff, friends, family, the willing and unwilling. Take a look when time allows.

Debra W said...

Peggy, that sounds fabulously inspiring! I am definitely going to check it out. I would love to hear your "18 minutes". Hopefully someday!

Happy Valentine's Day, friend.


Peggy Payne said...

Kenju, I just found out how to Follow, have been unofficially following your sites for a while.

Anon, I'll definitely listen to Taylor's 18 minutes. Thank you!

Debbie, I do appreciate your confidence in me. Maybe I'll "turn 18" one of these days.