Cleese please!

I really liked reading and listening to what John Cleese had to say about creativity.  I often think when it comes time to be creative I run into all of the issues that he sets forth.  In particular when he mentions all the things you invent to do when your mind is racing I could really feel like he was talking directly about me.

Let me try to break it down a bit by the 5 aspects he discusses.

Space – I agreed wholeheartedly with this one and have problems finding the space that is perfect and comfortable for me to be creative in.  It is not just the matter of the distractions present in the space but also the fact that the chair needs to be comfortable I need to be able to fully extend my arms.  I need perfect light. In other words I need the perfect space to go crazy.

Time -As he mentions it is the time involved in creating the perfect space and allowing oneself to exist within it long enough to produce something without distraction.  I have to agree with this as well. I not only need the space but the time to go crazy so that I can be creative,

Time – this time is a little different.  This is the time spent focused on particular problems within what one is creating.  Allowing oneself the time to focus on that individual thing as opposed to what others allow themselves give the potential to produce something more and completely creative.

Confidence – It is a battle that I fight constantly.  Is what I am going to produce going to be good enough.  Sometimes I get to hung up on the thought of having something be perfect the first time so much so that I don’t end up producing anything at all because I don’t think I can obtain perfection.  I also worry will people like what I write.  I have faced very little negative criticism in the course of writing and in fact it has been quite the opposite but I still have a lack of confidence born from other facets of my life that bleed their way into my creativity.  It is something that I need to work on the future.

Humor – One needs to be able to laugh at themselves and not to take things too seriously if they want to be open to the world of possibilities to rush into them.  It is like how a wall will hold back water but if there are holes in it there can be a waterfall.

Like I hinted at earlier part of true creativity for me is to go crazy.  What I mean by that is to get myself into what Cleese would call the open mode.  For me it is a wild place full of rushing thoughts and spontaneous creativity.  It can be beautiful and overwhelming.  It is like taking a bath in liquid sun where one has to be careful not to be burned by it.  If I am to harness it properly though I need to provide a structure for it to exist and by following some of what Cleese posits I believe I can do that.

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One thought on “Cleese please!

  1. That’s a lovely metaphor for creativity, John — “like taking a bath in liquid sun where one has to be careful not to be burned by it.” Going “crazy” with “the rushing thoughts and spontaneous creativity” sounds a lot like you’re experiencing Czsikszentmihalyi’s “flow.” I hope you’ll experience this phenomenon often this semester when you’re doing your multimedia work as well as writing. You should consider as you reflect each week if “transmedia” storytelling keeps you free and nimble to accomplish your first love — writing.

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