Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Creativity Journal 9/16/09

BSU Museum of Art

I really enjoyed Professor Jill Christman’s appearance in our class, talking about creative nonfiction, the nature of creativity and what she thinks about when she writes.

Authors have to keep a fresh perspective, she said.

“Writers can’t afford to be bored - An overdose of irony can be an enemy to creativity.”

“One thing that life does to us is wear away at our capacity to look at things,” she said. “We just stop looking. We put things in categories instead of actually seeing something.”

She talked about Russian novelist Vladimir Nabokov, who advised writers to “caress the detail, the divine detail.”

(Another good Nabokov quote, by the way: “The cradle rocks above an abyss, and common sense tells us that our existence is but a brief crack of light between two eternities of darkness.”)

On the theme of details, Christman continued:

“Creativity is making something new in some way. The new thing is most likely to come from the most minute thing, and then become big… You begin to find meaning in those details. If you start with the meaning, then you can't do it. It's the process of discovery.”

Being a writer means training yourself to work at it regularly, she said.

“If you do it every day, your brain counts on you to come back to that thing. So much of creativity is linked to discipline.”

While she likes the idea of “divine detail,” Christman doesn’t think much of divine inspiration.

“Muses and me -- I don’t know. I haven't met one yet,” she said.

“For me, the inspiration comes when my fanny is in the chair. If I sat around waiting for inspiration I would never make a living.”

- By John Strauss,

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