Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Imagine That!

Howdy partners!

I'm writin' from the mountains of Yosemite Valley and am feelin' especially yee-hawish. The place we're restin' our chapped hides is decked out in wagon wheels and bronzed horse heads. We're surrounded by the whispers of pine trees and my conpsiring children who sit and wait for the perfect moment to launch surprise attacks of unflattering mouth sounds and potty talk.


I haven't had the ability to focus on writing and revising, but I am not worried. Why, may you ask?


Well, I am currently reading, Jonah Lehrer's ever popular, Imagine: How Creativity Works. The author mentions how the most creative and intelligent people are typically are not able to focus with multiple distractions in the background. (Enter whispers of pines and conspiring children.) Creatives are constantly attmepting to make connections with the world around them. What does this mean? I can only deduce that I must be extremely creative AND intelligent. So, that's why I'm not too worried. =)


Another excerpt from the book that I have found wildly validating and perhaps more plausible in terms of my own reality, is that creativity is rooted in problems, in times when you feel stuck...writer's block. EUREKA!


Here is what the author had to say:


Every creative journey begins with a problem. It starts wtth a feeling of frustration, the dull ache of not being able to find the answer. We have worked hard, but we've hit the wall. We have no idea what to do next.


When we tell one another stories about creativity, we tend to leave out this phase of the creative process. We neglect to mention those days when we wanted to quit, when we believed that our problems were impossible to solve. Because such failures contradict the romantic version of events...we forget all about them...Instead, we skip straight to the breakthroughs. We tell the happy endings first.


...The act of being stumped is an essential part of the creative process. Before we can find the answer - before we can probably even know the question-we must be immersed in disappointment, convinced that a solution is beyond our reach. We need to have wrestled with the problem and lost. And so we give up and move to Woodstock because we will never create what we want to create.


It is often only at this point, after we've stopped searching for the answer, that the answer arrives...And when a solution does appear, it doesn't come in dribs; the puzzle isn't solved in one piece at a time. Rather, the solution is shocking in its completeness. All of a sudden, the answer to the problem that seemed so daunting becomes incredibly obvious. We curse ourselves for not seeing it sooner.



Don't you just feel better knowing this? Knowing that each time you are stumped and question whether or not you have a creative bone in your body, your geniusness is just right around the corner, waiting to shout, "Howdy partner! I've been waitin' for your yella belly to give up! What took ya so long?"

10 comments:

  1. Okay, right now I'm feeling like this is a verrrrrry big corner! But thanks for this post, Elizabeth. It's a great reminder for those frustrating patches we all have.;-)

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    1. Hang in there Rosi! Thanks for stopping by! =)

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  2. I actually own this book and am really looking forward to reading it, but my son took it first... so I have to wait :) But I love this nugget of encouragement. It's nice to know when all seems hopeless that that is actually the moment when something good is about to happen :)

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    1. Ohhhh, I think you will like it Susanna! There are lots of little nuggets like this one. There is a whole story about Bob Dylan that is fascinating!

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  3. Oh gosh! I was looking for houses in Woodstock! I'll stop immediately!
    Thanks, Elizabeth! I have an idea that is just not developing.....I am hoping the answer will be "shocking" in it's completeness....as in a really great PB draft.
    I have heard Katie Davis refer to this book several times on her podcast. I need to get it. It sounds really great.

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    1. Phew! Glad you read this when you did Penny! =)

      The idea will come. I promise. This is what I am telling myself at the moment as well! It is a book worth reading. I have learned so, so much already!

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  4. Thanks for reminding me how much I want to read the book! Now I can convince my family of my genius ("Turn off that music! I can't think!"). I haven't read it yet (on hold!) but I see creativity as a muscle too (the more you flex it...). Does he say anything about that too?

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    1. Ha! Exactly Julie... you genius you! Lehrer also talks about perseverence, however you spell it, and creativity. You are on to something! Maybe you should write a book! =)

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    2. I'm working on it...as I work on my age: every day!

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  5. "Knowing that each time you are stumped and question whether or not you have a creative bone in your body, your geniusness is just right around the corner..."

    please let this be true, please let this be true, please let this be true...

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