the anguish of creativity

Elizabeth gilbert

“creativity and sufferering are linked…are you okay with that?

here’s a great video of author Elizabeth Gilbert discussing the perils of the creative life. in it she raises a worthy question: is genius something that a person has, or something a person is? if we view it as the latter (a trend that began during the renaissance when humans put ourselves at the center of the universe), then anyone who has ever had a creative moment is expected to produce that same level of creativity at all times. if you’ve ever created anything praiseworthy, then you understand these expectations. this is a dangerous amount of pressure for creative people to bear (people who historically have a tendency to be fragile, irrational, paranormal and depressive). as she says, we need to protect ourselves by not giving into this view. toward the end she includes a thought about how creativity has been hailed in parts of history and the world as a glimpse of God. the compelling and all-too-real question she poses is, but what about when that ‘glimpse’ is gone? what about what about when you’re the artist and that creativity doesn’t show up in your life the way it once did? this is the agony and reality of every person who’s ever made something—creativity doesn’t always last. so, what is the job of the creative person then? her answer: to still show up, even if creativity doesn’t.

very, very interesting (and freeing).

“maybe (the creative life) doesn’t have to be so full of anguish, if you never happened to believe in the first place that the most extraordinary aspects of your being were not from you but maybe if you believed they were on loan to you by some unimaginable source for some exquisite portion of your life…”


~ by bradherndon on October 22, 2009.

One Response to “the anguish of creativity”

  1. I saw this a few weeks ago and it was great. I’m constantly amazed where inspiration comes from – could be anything. This time of year, it will most likely be outdoors for me though – I LOVE THIS TIME OF YEAR!

    Great post Brad – thanks for sharing…

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