Elusive Creative Genius

In this TED Talk author Elizabeth Gilbert speaks about the idea of creativity as genius, but not as something that someone can be… More as an elusive entity that can come and visit an artist/writer/other. She goes back to ancient Roman and Greek understandings of genius which describe this as a divine spirit/entity which came to people and helped them to give birth to their work. I love the analogies Gilbert uses in this talk and her story about the American poet Ruth Stone who would tell her stories of hearing poems traveling across the fields towards her. She had to rush to a paper and pen so that she could collect it when it ‘thundered through her.’ Listening to this talk reminds me of an earlier post I wrote [Reef] in which I describe feelings of country speaking through me. And another link… I trace back in memory to the words shared by Yolngu philosopher Maratja. He offers a Yolŋu perspective from north-east Arnhem Land, suggesting that ‘It’s the land which holds the sound, and then after that, we Yolŋu people. What we are talking about, is how that sound emerges’ (as cited in Christie 2010,p. 67). Can our creative energy/genius come to us from country? Is this what I am feeling when I am standing on the beach at Norman Bay facing Mount Oberon, exuberant and brimming full of poetry, song and creative flow? 


Christie, M. 2010, ‘The task of the translator’, International Journal of Learning in Social Contexts Australia, no. 2, pp. 67-74.

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One response to “Elusive Creative Genius

  1. FYI: I was listening to Radio National's Drive program on Tuesday and there was a conversation in full flight about living with creativity and genius. Here's the link to the downloadable MP3: http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/drive/drawing-room3a-living-with-a-creative-mind/4582534The conversation reminded me very much of Elizabeth Gilbert's TED Talk.

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