Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Cleese and creativity

I was looking at my notebook today, as I'm feeling a little stuck -

Okay, full disclosure: I picked up a screenplay that I'd started and submitted for a fellowship that I hadn't looked at for a few months.  Of course, my first thought was that it was awful, and I was as well by extension.  Then I went and got an iced tea.

Back at my desk, I opened a journal thinking I would write a list of all the projects I have ideas for but I haven't started, as list making always calms me a little, though now I realize writing a list of all the things I'm not working on is perhaps counter-intuitive if you are seeking artistic confidence.

Anyhow, I opened to the back and saw this summation of John Cleese's creativity lecture that I had watched a while ago. It was under the single item list "READ FRANKENSTEIN."  There are two check marks by that, neither would indicate that I've either purchased or read the book yet. I did, though, see the National Theater version directed by Danny Boyle with Benedict Cumberbatch and Johnny Lee Miller twice, and it was fantastic.

Here are my Cleese notes. I'll save you the block letters as it would look like I'm yelling at you, which is not a great creativity motivator.

  • Open mode = curiosity
  • Stick with the problem longer
  • Tolerate discomfort and anxiety while problem is unsolved
  • Don't make a decision just to make you feel better
  • Looking at decisiveness as an aim is not helpful
  • Give maximum pondering time
  • Don't try to get out of creative discomfort just to get out
  • Three things you need: Space, Time, Confidence
  • Confidence = open to what happens
  • You're either free to play or not
  • While being creative nothing is wrong
  • Don't forget humor
  • Keep bringing your mind back to the subject

Good words to remember. I'm going to go stew in some anxiety and unfinished business.