Elizabeth Gilbert on Genius


Now I have not read Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat Pray Love. But I certainly will be reading this book in the future. It is such a big hit and means so much to so many people, that I’d like to see what all the ‘fuss’ is about.

Books like this have tremendous potential in the classroom.

Why? Because girls/women love it. That’s why. And when we honor the experiences of people through our book choices it gives validations to those experiences. Much more meaningful for developmental education students and community college students than an intellectual fuddy duddy book that I THINK IS IMPORTANT.

For those that don’t know about Ted.com…you should. Some of the best minds on the planet come and speak at this magical conference. One of my goals in life is to attend this conference one day. I will. But looks like I’ll need an IDEA of my own first (Working on that…in fact, this blog is a part of that process).

My idea the more I think about did come to me with the size of Zeus…it was so big I had to start this blog in order to work out all the details.

Maybe the Gods did send me this idea. Hmmmm. Too much to think about there.

Elizabeth Gilbert gave this talk at TED in Long Beach this year. I guess this was well recieved.

Her point is that this notion of a genius inside us like a genie that is waiting to come out is a wonderful metaphor for explaining the creative process. The simplicity of this idea might not explain everyone’s creative journey, but it certainly feels like that for me when I’m making art.

Sometimes the art/ideas come out of me easily…at other times it is a prolonged painful child birth. The notion I don’t have much control over this process frees me up from a lot of anxiety. Yet I could also see it’s limitations…because paid artists must find ways to come up with good ideas consistently. I think it was Andy Rooney who said “When I sit down to write…you better believe I’m going to come up with a good idea”.

This idea that art comes from the Gods is an idea worth exploring much more in detail in my opinion. This ideas has been such a big part of our mythology, music, and arts here in the Western World. I can see all kinds of good uses for this as an educator as it allows me to connect the creative process to our literary heritage. So if it seems a little simplistic and far fetched and unscientific, well…that’s why we faith. To help us make that jump.

This IDEA is easily explained to students and is a nice segway into Greek Mythology. Though as a practical exercise for writing in a classroom setting…I’m not sure how I’d use it.

So watch the video.

And please answer this question below…Where do you get your ideas for writing/art/teaching from? From a mysterious “other” place or simply from your mind.


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