While reading Julia Cameron’s book the other day I came across the following paragraph:
“Creativity expands in an atmosphere encouraging to it, and constricts self-protectively in an atmosphere that is cynical or hostile. This is why artists can have a difficult time accessing their best work in academia.”
I remember an interview I had read with writer Frank O’Conner decades ago that I would like to share with you.
When asked how he feels about the academic approach to the novel versus the natural approach, here is what the author said:
“All the university men of Shakespeare’s day thought he was a simpleton, a bit of an idiot.
The university novelists have been having it their own way for thirty years, and it’s about time a natural novelist got back to the job and really told stories about people. You see, I don’t believe there is anything else in the world except human beings, they’re the best thing you’re ever likely to discover.
To me, the novel is so human, the only thing I’m interested in- I can’t imagine anything better in the world than people. A novel is about people, it’s written for people, and the moment it starts getting intellectual that it gets beyond the range of people and reduces them to academic formulae, I’m not interested in it any longer. I really got into this row, big, at the novel conference at Harvard, when I had a couple of people talking about the various types of novel- analyzing them- and then we had a novelist get up and speak about the responsibilities of the novelist. I was with Anthony West on the stage and I was gradually getting into hysterics. It’s never happened to me before in public; I was giggling, I couldn’t stop myself. And, “All right,” I said at the end of it, “if there are any of my students here I’d like them to remember that writing is fun.” That’s the reason you do it, because you enjoy it, and you read it because you enjoy it. You don’t read it because of the serious moral responsibility to read, and you don’t write it because it’s a serious moral responsibility. You do it for exactly the same reason that you paint pictures or play with the kids. It’s a creative activity.”
Creativity is fun. Creativity is play. I hope you have fun creating!