Sunday, September 11, 2016

The Magic Trick of Writing, and the Inhibition of Creativity

Me, minus my copious stupidity, equals my writing.

It's a magic trick I'm surprised more stupid people haven't discovered. Writing is an opportunity to fool everyone by presenting ourselves as seemingly intelligent, insightful, and articulate. All that's required is a willingness to face your stupidity, vapidity, and incoherence with clear eyes, and a resolution to not quit working until all that is expunged.

If you don't write in a perpetual state of fraught anxiety at the prospect of exposing your idiotic true self via unthorough self-editing, then you're not really a writer.

What's more, I'm also a bit aphasic - I have trouble thinking of words. It's hard to talk to people, because I get stuck, and must choose between stammering/stalling or else swapping in fuzzy placeholder words which don't quite fit. It makes me sound slightly loopy - and shocking for me to have chosen a career as a writer. But when I write, I can take a half hour to summon the perfect word. It turns out, in the end, as smoothly as I wish I could speak, and that's immensely satisfying. I sail on that momentum, trying to optimize each word. The first step is a willingness to recognize that most of what I say or write is complete slop, and the second is a resolution to not quit working until all that is expunged.

I've written a lot about how our worst faculties can be our best launchpads. Creativity thrives under impediment, so we're less creative in the realms where we feel assured. The really good stuff stems from struggle.


Unfortunately, most people run as fast as they can away from their points of struggle and deficit. Those things are the ground zero of their deepest dread. This is why we live in a world so seemingly devoid of creativity. People cling for comfort and safety to their strongest faculties, where little creativity is required. And so creativity goes dormant.

We're all creative, but it only arises in the comparatively few of us willing to take ownership of (and make hay with) our least competent selves.

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