I don’t share videos often, because I know many of us don’t have time to watch them. But this talk by Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love, touches on some fascinating ideas about the origin of creativity. Gilbert discusses the concept of the individual as a creative genius versus the notion of the artist as a conduit through which creativity flows. She links the end of the historical belief in an outside “daemon” or “genius” to the growth of both narcissism and paralyzing self-doubt in contemporary writers.
Highlights for me include her interactions with poet Ruth Stone and musician Tom Waits. Stone told Gilbert about poems barreling down on her while she races to get a piece of paper, only to continue on to be written by another poet if Stone doesn’t catch them in time. Waits shared a significant moment in his creative life with Gilbert, discussing his interaction with a piece of music when it came to him while he was driving down the freeway and unable to capture it.
The video is just under 20 minutes long—well worth a listen if you have the time.