Monday, October 16, 2023

Why Creative People Have Trouble Reading

I have trouble reading. I pondered it for years, watching myself carefully, and finally came to understand why: I'm creative. Ideas come. Often in profusion. And this outward flow of ideas impedes the inward flow of words.

One can't simultaneously discharge and absorb. It's a one-way valve, and you'd be crazy to favor inflow when creative outflow is the most satisfying thing in human experience. It's understandable that we innately choose not to inhibit our creative outflow, but it makes reading awfully hard (especially with insightful writing, which stimulates even more ideas!).

Very few of us are genuinely creative, yet many people, especially past a certain age, have trouble reading. So what's their disruptive outflow, if not creativity?

Answer: rich people's problems. Fake drama. Fake notions of victimhood. Endless rumination over that awful thing your teacher once said. The zillionth rehashing of the things you tell yourself about yourself. Ruing previous shortfalls, imagining future pay-offs. That's the outflow that makes it hard for non-creative people to read.

But here's the thing: That's not some rancid cheap stand-in for creativity. It's real creativity! It's world-building!

You've built an inner universe in which you're the protagonist, cinematically following dramatic arcs of triumph and failure, transporting yourself effortlessly through time and space to the third grade classroom where the teacher said that awful thing. It feels so real that you easily lose yourself...and put down the book. What else but pure creativity could build immersive, emotionally rich internal towers of brooding discontent and haughty superiority?

In fact, the supposedly non-creative - who aren't creative because they're so occupied by self-story-telling - are actually the more creative people. What they do, day in and day out, is far more impressively creative than any given Slog posting trying to figure all this stuff out!

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