April 26, 2012


Yet another book on creativity has broken into print. It’s called “Imagine” and is written by the “Wall Street Journal’s” brain science columnist, Jonah Lehrer. His thesis is one I’ve discussed on this blog before: that creativity serves us best when we are silent and thoughtful.

          “When we’re not relaxed—when we’re really vigilant—our attention is focused on the problem…

            That means we can’t hear the quiet voice in the back of our head trying to tell us what the answer is.”

(“The Week,” April 6)

According to the author, creativity is an “aha” moment that can be stifled in the midst of turmoil. But I’m not sure I fully agree. Sometimes desperation is a source of inspiration. I’ve been struggling to master the art of pasting a photo from the web on to my blog, for example. Thinking there was some flaw in my computer, I had the contraption rebuilt and hired a teacher to help me reach my goal. None of it seemed to matter. What worked for them didn’t work for me. The situation was becoming phobic.

(courtesy: yourlifementor.com)

Still, I refused to give up and one day, after trying different routes and variations on the ones I’d been given, I broke through. My method was unorthodox but the satisfaction I felt was immense. Like the last chick left in the nest, I had finally taken wing. But my creative solution hadn’t come in a cocoon of silence. It was wrung from a bloody battlefield of numerous failures.

I don’t know where or how creativity is bred, but I do know when it comes, in a meditation or a cry of despair, it is never easy and persistence is the underpinning.