Sunday, June 16, 2013

Ruminations on creativity - by Sendak, Oswalt & others

A few different things I've seen recently that stood out to me around the creative process (which certainly includes, but is not limited to the writing process) included a post Patton Oswalt made to his website, an interview website I've come across recently and a Maurice Sendak video interview from 2011.

In addition to being a well know comedian and having a supporting role last season on probably my favorite TV show, Oswalt is an excellent writer and a few days ago posted "A closed letter to myself about thievery, heckling and rape jokes" to his website. It's pretty lengthy and contains I thought some very cool thoughts with one portion that stood out being how he's ok with turning off or upsetting some people... "As carefully as I've curated and cultivated my career, I’m now doing the same with my audience. Universality was never my goal as a comedian. Longevity and creativity are."

The interview website that I found recently is The Creators Call and it's a weekly podcast put together by Anthony Palmer, a Georgetown Law student, and Pete Barrett, a Gettysburg College student (who recently had posted to a story he wrote on Cardinals closer Edward Mujica).

There's thus far been posted to The Creators Call audio from five different interviews with creative types. The lineup so far has been excellent (each person I've previously linked to content from has their name hyperlinked) with people featured to date being Chris Brogan, Jeff Pearlman, Glenn Stout, Jeffrey Toobin and Matthew Cerrone.

The Sendak interview was conducted a year before his death last May and included I thought some really profound and worthwhile thoughts from the acclaimed writer of Where the Wild Things Are...

"The question is why bother? and I don't mean why bother to die. Why bother to get bored?"

"It's sublime, To just go into another room and just make pictures. It's magic time. Where all your weaknesses of character and all the blemishes of personality, and whatever else torments you, fades away. Just doesn't matter. You're doing the one thing you want to do and you know you do it well. And you're happy. The whole promise is to do the work, sitting down at the drawing table, turning on the radio. And I think what a transcendent life this is that I'm doing everything I want to do. And that moment I feel like I'm a lucky man. 

I'm trying very hard to concentrate on what is here, what I can see, what I can smell, what I can feel. making that the important business of life. Just looking out the window, the colors I see, reading Charles Dickens at night for an hour, little rituals I have, listening to Mozart. Learning how not to take myself so seriously.What I'm working on, what I'd like to work on, it's not earth-shakingly important. I'm not earth-shakingly important. I'm just clearing the decks for a simple death. You're done with your work, you're done with your life and your life was your work. 

I think what I offered was different, but not because I drew better than anybody or wrote better than anybody, but because I was more honest than anybody. And in a discussion of children and the lives of children and the fantasies of children, and the language of children, I said anything I wanted. Because I don't believe in children, I don't believe in childhood. I don't believe there's a demarcation with 'you mustn't tell them that, or you mustn't tell them that. You can tell them anything you want. Just tell them if it's true, if it's true, you tell them. I have adult thoughts in my head, experiences, but I'm never going to talk about them. I'm never going to write about them. Why is my needle stuck in childhood? I don't know. I don't know. I guess that's where my heart is."