Week Twenty Four.

It’s only by really thinking about something that we’re able to move ourselves into perceptions that we never knew we had the capacity for.

The book: Imagine: How Creativity Works by Jonah Lehrer

The memory: 

Frames Shanghai

“…The reality of things is naturally obscured by the clutter of the world, by all those ideas & sensations that distract the mind. The only way to see through this clutter is to rely on the knife of conscious attention, which can cut away the excess and reveal “the things themselves.”

Jonah Lehrer is one of my new favorite contemporary writers. Beyond just stories of successful people and “how they did it” – he weaves in fundamental and informative scientific explanations of why and how creativity works in the brain, and thus is reinforced by our behavior. It’s about those electrical synapses establishing connections in our brains, bridging networks between the right and left hemispheres.

Creativity is one of the traits we tend to attribute to a select few “talented” people, and can easily label ourselves as not being one of those few. However, like most traits, it can be learned and cultivated. The most important lesson of all, throughout the many, many books I’ve read on this topic, is that hard work, determination, focus, and perseverance in the creative process outweighs natural ability. Being creative is not a singular act; being creative is a process. There are ways in which you can help induce the brain to be more creative (there’s an expanding number of lists out there on the world wide web); but it’s more than just that momentary strike of inspiration, although at times you may be struck with divine genius (See Elizabeth’s Ted Talk). However, the vast majority of the time, being creative is an intense process, sometimes a grueling one, in which you have to have the mental fortitude to push through, produce, and eventually arrive at that personal pinnacle. And because it’s a process, there’s no end point to being creative.

It’s a lesson I’ll have to remind myself over and over again: to be creative, you just have to create. Focus, silence that voice of judgment, and create. The first draft will probably be rubbish, and so will the second, third. But you push through. You have to cultivate those habits over and over again. And again and again.

It’s not often that I come across a writer whom after having read one of his/her works, that I actively seek his/her other works. However, immediately after reading this book, I searched for the many other articles and topics Jonah Lehrer has covered, and now he’s become a writer I’ve officially added to my mental list of people to follow. Visit his website here.

I know this isn’t a memory, story, or even thought; I just wanted to note that I have a new literary crush, and how exciting that is. Besides, the past few entries have been reflection heavy, which is emotionally exhausting, and so I’m taking a break until the next moment of inspiration comes. Until then, I’ll just continue to write less than inspired pieces.

End, Memory Twenty Four.

Next week: Intimacies: Poems of Love by Pablo Neruda


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