WHERE DOES CREATIVITY COME FROM?
Updated: Feb 14
Foreword to Brandon Beckner's CREATIVE SUCCESS IN SHOW BUSINESS by Steve Sobel.
Where does creativity come from? It’s such a simple question. Yet in asking, one finds themselves at the center of the most vital – and elusive – aspect of life itself. For creativity is the offshoot of the word creation. So when you ponder where creation comes from you’re looking into the building blocks of the entire Universe.
Often people look to artists for the answer, because they seem, more than others, tapped into this aspect of the cosmos. But rarely do you get very far with this route, for a couple important reasons. First, creative people are loath to reveal their process; which in turn leads to the second reason, even the artists themselves don’t know the answer.
Ernest Hemingway always maintained it was bad luck to even talk about writing. He said it takes off “whatever butterflies have on their wings and the arrangement of a hawk’s feathers if you show it or talk about it.” Yikes!
In reading this book, you’ll find the patterns that explain Hemingway’s right attitude towards the origin of creativity. It’s not something to be tampered with, primarily because of its mysterious origin; lest you suffer the consequences.
All of this is what makes Brandon’s book so remarkable. Not only, through the interviews, does he get at the essential enigmatic nature of creativity itself; but just as impressive is that he was able to create a book comprised of people normally unwilling to address these topics at all. It’s akin to a collection of professional magicians explaining their tricks. This compilation is a rare treasure.
The reader will undoubtedly find him or herself interviewing themselves on the same questions contained in this book. Because once you realize what we’re talking about here is the act of manifestation itself – the Art of Everything - the realizations contained in these pages are applicable to anyone and anything.
I remember my beloved grandmother who, after she retired, found no greater joy than doing something most people hate: laundry. That was one of her many “arts” and it was very meditative and pleasurable for her; and eerily similar to how the artists in this book describe their creative process.
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, in his seminal work, Flow, identified that people derive the most pleasure from what’s called, Autotelic activity. The basic meaning of this word is, activity for the sake of the activity itself, with no goal in mind. What’s fascinating is, no matter what discipline and field of arts, this theme comes up time and again in this book.
The act of creation – including creating art - justifies the act itself. And really good art comes out of a state of dispassion towards the end result. In the Bhagavad Gita, Gandhi’s favorite book, Krishna comes back repeatedly to this central theme of renunciation of the fruits of our action. Instead, focus solely on the act of creation itself.
This isn’t always easy. And again, the implications are profound. It’s not an accident that Winston Churchill, referring to Normandy, and a Hemingway letter to F. Scott Fitzgerald, on finishing a novel, had the same exact advice: “When you’re going through hell, just keep going.”
This book is for everyone. As a practical guide for artists at any stage of development, this is an essential piece of reading. But, just as importantly, I predict the readership for this unique book will reach far and wide, because again it gets to the heart of creation itself.
Everything that exists is what this book is about. It is, simply, about everything.
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