I read a pretty great quote a couple of days ago from the short fiction writer Katherine Mansfield “Far better to write twaddle or anything, anything, than nothing at all.” I am guessing twitter isn’t even twaddle?
These days my writing has been pretty sporadic. This is despite the fact that I told myself (not resolved, those never happen) that I would write more frequently. There are certain periods when I feel confident and inspired and can’t wait to get everything down on paper. But more frequently, I doubt my ability to express myself, to be creative– and become very reluctant to write anything, anything at all.
I’m not a follower of the Eat, Pray, Love cult (I only read a portion of the book), however, the book’s author Elizabeth Gilbert has given a fantastic TED talk on how we can dissociate creativity from productivity, and make both possible. She discusses the origin of the word ‘genius’ which I really liked. The concept behind genius is very similar to mythology of the muses, but even more personal. According to the OED the word refers to classical Greco-Roman beliefs where genius was an individual tutelary god or spirit present in each person, providing him or her with a divine nature and governing his or her fortunes. Gilbert’s main point in the talk is that while creativity can’t be forced, when we sit down and work on a given project, sometimes a stroke of genius will flash by and since we’re already working we can take advantage of it. And even if it doesn’t come by– we’ve still accomplished something.
This semester is probably my most challenging in terms of materials and courseload, but I am also talking incredibly interesting courses. Most of my classes now are with less than thirty people, a big difference from the three-hundred and six-hundred seat classes I was taking even up to last semester (not a fan). So while I have hundreds of pages to read and write, the chance to discuss readings in seminars and work on projects gives me a lot more to talk about, to write about- and an opportunity to rid this fear of expressing myself/writing inadequately. In short, henceforth I shall twaddle while my genius will do the writing.Permanent linkMarzieh Ghiasi