largely a response to Elizabeth Gilbert's  video on TED http://www.ted.com/talks/elizabeth_gilbert_on_genius.html People often ask me how I write, or how my poems come about and I never know what to say.   I often answer that they come from things I see, stuff I've read, responses I want to make to issues that come up in society but I know that's not what they mean. They mean... HOW do you write, what goes through you. what is your PROCESS.  I've never thought about process, I've usually  taken a poem as it comes. For instance sometimes it would take three days to get two lines, sometimes four months the longest it's taken is up to a year.  But I think that's not what people mean either.  Gilbert talks about the idea of "genius" and what we expect from those given that label.I've always rejected the notion of being a creative genius  based on the fact that people who appear to be the most effortless and brilliant are often the ones who work the hardest but what she spoke of  sort of brought home to me something I wasn't aware of really  aware of - the  process that she referred to as  "posessing" genius in quite a  metaphysical way.  This I now understand, and I can in a very small way see how it plays out in my own life and writing.  I tend to write very little for a long time, and then in a short time, write a lot.  I used to blame bipolar disorder. The phases of my illness often dictate how creative I can be, the medication to remedy anxiety, depression, mania etc  dampening my creativity etc and it still is true in many ways. However, having watched this, I can say that it  has changed the way I view my own work.  I always wondered why at times poems would come to me at the most inappropriate times (having a shower, falling asleep, making love - oh yeah, several) and not when I wanted them to.  I used to get the same reaction Tom Waits did the whole. fuck. I will lose it.. what if I don't capture this story/poem/thing right now does that mean i'm inadequate? I guess if you go with this, No. It means I just have to be present enough and listen enough to what things are trying to say at another time.  (the Tom Waits driving example was a really good one)
 
 The other thing that this talk brought home to me was the value society puts on art.   What I believe society says  is  well we'll put these musicians/poets/painters over *here* and the rest of you can become engineers because art isn't really something of value anyway. If you're a young person choosing a visual arts degree over the accountancy course your parents REALLY want you to do.. good on you.  It doesn't happen often. Now to write, to twitter, and to hopefully at some stage eat. 
 


Comments

09/03/2010 19:35

I don't think that when people grow up, they will become more broad-minded and can accept everything. Conversely, I think it's a selecting process, knowing what's the most important and what's the least. And then be a simple man.

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