After reading my last post about “Genius”, a friend of mine sent me a link to this wonderful TED talk by Elizabeth Gilbert, author of “Eat, Pray, Love”. I think she makes some excellent points. Why do creative people have this reputation for being unstable, and prone to mental illness. We don’t even blink when we hear that an artist was somehow “undone” by their gifts.
Why does creativity seem to come with a bucket of anguish… What do you do after a “freakish success?”
How do you create a safe distance between the creative process and living a sane life?
According to Elizabeth Gilbert, the ancient Romans considered the creative spirit to be a “genius” which would kind of hang around an artist to protect the artist from the results of his or her work. If your work was brilliant, everyone knew that you had a genius helping you and so you couldn’t take all the credit. If it bombed, then you didn’t get all the blame either because your “genius” was just lame.
And artist was a human being taking “dictation from the divine”. It wasn’t a person BEING a genius. It was a human being HAVING a genius. A divine helper.
The shift happened when people started referring to artists as “a genius” instead of “having a genius”.
This is 18 minutes of pure gold!
On a totally different but related subject, I think the choice to have Julia Roberts Play her in the Movie adaptation of “Eat, Pray, Love” was a huge blunder. It should have been Helen Hunt. Julia was too serious and Elizabeth Gilbert is so full of life and humor and spark and spunk that the somber, stately Julia Roberts couldn’t quite convey it.
That’s awl I’m sayin’
have a great day!
p.s. nothing against Julia Roberts… Just watch the video above to see why Helen Hunt would have been better. My “genius” is calling for a remake.