Russell Brand troubles me.
I don’t find his comedy that funny, but I get the impression he’s incredibly intelligent – it just doesn’t seem like he uses his intelligence for good (jokes). Clearly he’s achieved exceptional things through his career and whatever he’s doing is working for him so maybe I need to stop being such a comedy snob. There’s a market for his jokes and he’s definitely capitalising on it.
Anyway after Amy Winehouse died he wrote a beautiful blog post about Amy and addiction. I read it at the time and stumbled across it again yesterday, I then continued to read more of his blog posts and was heartened. He’s got good things to say and potentially has an audience where he’s not just preaching to the converted but actually can exercise his influence to achieve more tolerance amongst his fans.
I don’t think I’m alone in feeling defeat very early in my creative process. I’ve had my successes in the past writing last minute scenes for Drama class or a 21st speech for a friend in the middle of the night on a ferry in Greece-which has led me to nurture some inherent belief that my best work comes when cognitive thought has a minimal role to play; that I should wait for inspiration/sleep deprivation/the panic of a deadline to strike. Instead of sitting down and taking the risk of producing something inconsequential or poorly written or tragically predictable in the privacy of a journal, I instead study the process of others as if that alone will enable me to achieve my wildest creative dreams.
That being said, there are some valuable lessons from the masters. As a huge Monty Python fan, John Cleese’s lecture on creativity served me some home truths. Truths that I consistently found in other commentary on the creative process. 1. Creativity requires time, time to play, without a specific end goal or a need to create anything of value. 2. You have to be willing to fail. There’s no more consistent trait amongst those I’ve admired and researched than a willingness to embrace the vulnerability to fail and use it as the most significant stepping stone to success.
I am still at a stage where I find the fear of failure crippling. Particularly in the public eye, no matter how small the arena of exposure. So I am going to use this blog as an opportunity to challenge my self and to willingly publish posts that may be unimpressive, vapid creations, because I know that to get where I want to be I need to produce, produce, produce and learn from and through the process.
If you’d like a little creativity inspiration of your own check out Cleese’s lecture here
Another simple (and short) look at creativity and taking the time to play can be found here
I am a frequent visitor to the TED website. Last year I spent my year living overseas and working full time as a waitress which left much to be desired on the intellectual stimulation front. Enter TED.
One of my favourite talks in Ken Robinson’s Schools Kill Creativity, which explores how the education system is structured to produce one very specific type of intellect. Robinson says in the talk something to the tune of “If we really thought about it, the education system’s main goal is to produce academics”. It seems to me that the education system is so geared towards producing a standardised student, and that the risk of straying from the traditional model and jeopardising a student’s ability to thrive in society is so great in the eyes of the institution, that we are really losing an opportunity to maximise the skills of the individual.
I know that amongst my friends, we all have very different conditions under which we thrive as students, thus my distress at the seeming trend towards max standardisation.
That being said, Robinson’s talk is one of the most viewed on TED so maybe there’s hope for us all yet. Take a look for yourselves.