Tuesday, June 28, 2016

WIRED TO CREATE: 10 Things Great Writers Do Differently

I often see the Epoch Times around Manhattan, but I never thought to read the free independent newspaper instead of or in addition to the amNY. But intriguing excerpts were texted to me from Linda Wiegenfeld’s review of  Wired to Create: Unraveling the Mysteries of the Creative Mind from the June 17-23, 2016 Art’s & Style section. The authors, Scott Barry Kaufman and Carolyn Gregoire, related “10 Things Great Artists, Writers, and Innovators Do Differently.”

Here are six habits that resonated with me from Wiegenfeld’s review:

1. Passion

Creative people have passion for their work, which helps them feel motivated and inspired. Without this passion, they would soon lose interest when faced with a difficult task.

“The only way to do great work is to love what you do.” —Steve Jobs

2. Solitude

Creative people enjoy solitude because it lets them slow down long enough to hear their own ideas. Then they can take time to reflect and make new connections. Being alone does not necessarily mean being lonely.

“I never found the companion that was so companionable as solitude.” —Henry David Thoreau

3. Intuition

Creative people listen to that inner voice, that gut feeling, which we all have. Creative people are able to tap into their intuition, a form of unconscious reasoning. 

“The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.” —Albert Einstein

4. Open to New Experiences

Creative people want to broaden their horizons so they can make connections in a new way. Curiosity replaces fear of the unknown, allowing more possibilities to exist for innovative thinking.

According to the authors, “Leonardo da Vinci, the renaissance man, tried his hand at painting, sculpting, architecture, math, inventing, music, anatomy, cartography, botany, writing, and more.”

5. Sensitivity

Highly creative people often have an unusual depth of feeling. They often pick up on the little things in the environment that others miss. They engage in life with greater depth than others.

“The truly creative mind in any field is no more than this: A human creature born abnormally, inhumanly sensitive.” —Pearl S. Buck

6. Turning Adversity Into Advantage

People who experience traumatic events often strive to make sense of their emotional state. Creativity can become a positive coping mechanism after a difficult experience. 

“An artist must be nourished by his passions and by his despairs.” —Francis Bacon

Monday, June 13, 2016

How An Aesthete Documents His Aesthetics

Walter Pater writes in the preface to The Renaissance Studies in Art and Poetry that “To define beauty [...] is the aim of the true student of aesthetics.” 

“What is important, then, is not that the critic should possess a correct abstract definition of beauty for the intellect, but a certain kind of temperament, the power of being deeply moved by the presence of beautiful objects.”

That one should ask questions like “What is this song or picture, this engaging personality presented in life or in a book, to me? What effect does it really produce on me? How is my nature modified by its presence, and under its influence? [...] one must realize such primary data for one’s self, or not at all.”

“The aesthetic critic, then, regards all objects [...], all works of art, and the fairer forms of nature and human life, as powers or forces producing pleasurable sensations [...].” 

The aesthete should strive “[...] to indicate what the source of the impression is, and under what conditions it is experienced. His end is reached when he had disengaged that virtue, and noted it, as a chemist notes some nature element [...]”

So the next time you hear a piece like Treuting’s “Extremes” (2009), see a piece like Venus Callipyge, read a piece like Nabokov’s “Lilith” and\or bite into a Burger Joint well-down cheeseburger with the works, note like a chemist the effect it has on you, how you’re being moved, how your nature is being modified and the pleasurable sensations being produced.