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Creativity

  • The creative instincts, the love force must be nourished with every beat of our hearts until they overbalance the destructive instincts.

  • ... the 'creative faculty'... was lethargic; it sometimes roused itself to spurts and flashes during wakeful nights, but slept like a boa-constrictor that had swallowed a pig when he tried to invoke it.

  • The finest life is spent creating oneself, not procreating.

    • Natalie Clifford Barney,
    • "Scatterings" (1910), in Anna Livia, ed., A Perilous Advantage: The Best of Natalie Clifford Barney ()
  • Then and there I invented this rule for myself to be applied to every decision I might have to make in the future. I would sort out all the arguments and see which belonged to fear and which to creativeness, and other things being equal I would make the decision which had the larger number of creative reasons on its side. I think it must be a rule something like this that makes jonquils and crocuses come pushing through cold mud.

  • I could never work with great spirit in any material unless I knew that the amount of it was limited—I had to be hedged in by a boundary of either space or material, in order to awaken the feeling of creative excitement.

  • Creative work is one of life's greatest pleasures, and the only one we will gladly interrupt.

  • One must also accept that one has 'uncreative' moments. The more honestly one can accept that, the quicker these moments will pass. One must have the courage to call a halt, to feel empty and discouraged.

  • Why should we all use our creative power? ... Because there is nothing that makes people so generous, joyful, lively, bold and compassionate, so indifferent to fighting and the accumulation of objects and money.

  • So you see the imagination needs moodling, — long, inefficient, happy idling, dawdling and puttering.

  • He [Bernardo Bertolucci] has the kind of talent that breaks one's heart: where can it go, what will happen to it? In this country we encourage 'creativity' among the mediocre, but real bursting creativity appalls us. We put it down as undisciplined, as somehow 'too much.' Well, Before the Revolution is too much and that is what is great about it. Art doesn't come in measured quantities: it's got to be too much or it's not enough.

  • ... creativity is really the structuring of magic.

  • Man is never truly himself except when he is actively creating something.

  • Under all the superficial praise of the 'creative' is the desire to kill. It is the old war between the mystic and the nonmystic, a war to the death.

  • Creativity comes from trust. Trust your instincts. And never hope more than you work.

  • The process of writing, any form of creativity, is a power intensifying life.

  • ... until you learn that an artist cannot afford to scorn any phase of life that is human, you will never do great work.

  • We need emotional outlets in this country, and the more artistic people we develop the better it will be for us as a nation.

  • Every creative act draws on the past whether it pretends to or not. It draws on what it knows. There's no such thing, really, as a creative act in a vacuum.

    • Ada Louise Huxtable,
    • in Evelyn L. Beilenson and Ann Tenenbaum, eds., Wit & Wisdom of Famous American Women ()
  • It was at that moment that Degas persuaded me to send no more to the Salon and to exhibit with his friends in the group of Impressionists. I accepted with joy. At last I could work with complete independence without concerning myself with the eventual judgement of a jury. I already knew who were my true masters. I admired Manet, Courbet and Degas. I hated conventional art. I began to live.

    • Mary Cassatt,
    • in Achille Segard, Un Peintre des Enfants et des Mères -- Mary Cassatt ()
  • You were wild once. Don't let them tame you!

  • ... desire creates its own object.

  • What you desire you call into being ...

  • All creativity is based on trial and error. Take chances. Extend yourself. Dare.

  • Abel was a dog poisoner. It sometimes works out that way. A man wants to have some direct connection with life. If he can't bring life into being, he'll put an end to it. In that way he's not completely powerless. Some men can start it. Others can end it.

  • Creativity is a habit, and the best creativity is a result of good work habits.

    • Twyla Tharp,
    • in Twyla Tharp with Mark Reiter, The Creative Habit ()
  • There's a paradox in the notion that creativity should be a habit. We think of creativity as a way of keeping everything fresh and new, while habit implies routine and reptition. That paradox intrigues me because it occupies the place where creativity and skill rub up against each other.

    • Twyla Tharp,
    • in Twyla Tharp with Mark Reiter, The Creative Habit ()
  • Before you can think out of the box, you have to start with a box.

    • Twyla Tharp,
    • in Twyla Tharp with Mark Reiter, The Creative Habit ()
  • The first steps of a creative act are like groping in the dark: random and chaotic, feverish and fearful, a lot of busy-ness with no apparent or definable end in sight.

    • Twyla Tharp,
    • in Twyla Tharp with Mark Reiter, The Creative Habit ()
  • In creative endeavors luck is a skill.

    • Twyla Tharp,
    • in Twyla Tharp with Mark Reiter, The Creative Habit ()
  • Never strive, O artist, to create what you are not irresistibly impelled to create!

  • My husband's family was terribly refined. Within their circle you could know Beethoven, but God forbid if you were Beethoven.

  • I think most artists create out of despair. ... if labor pain is for physical birth, then there is a psychic pain and spiritual for creation. ... The very nature of creation is not a performing glory on the outside, it's a painful, difficult search within.

  • I think all great innovations are built on rejections.

  • Anyone who has attempted to create knows the hellishness of it, which consists in the final inescapability from it. Knows that anything, however deadly humdrum to drug the senses, is preferable to it. Knows the gigantic effort to get started on the boundless, unwieldy, shapeless material; the forest of hesitations; of what to keep and what to throw out; the running-out terror and reluctance in one of finishing.

  • From every scrap you make a blanket.

  • God forgives those who invent what they need.

  • All craftsmen share a knowledge. They have held / Reality down fluttering to a bench ...

  • The truly creative mind in any field is no more than this: A human creature born abnormally, inhumanly sensitive. To him a touch is a blow, a sound is a noise, a misfortune is a tragedy, a joy is an ecstasy, a friend is a lover, a lover is a god, and failure is death. Add to this cruelly delicate organism the overpowering necessity to create, create, create ... so that without the creating of music or poetry or books or building or something of meaning, his very breath is cut off from him. He must create, must pour out creation. By some strange unknown, inward urgency he is not really alive unless he is creating.

    • Pearl S. Buck,
    • in Theodore F. Harris, Pearl S. Buck: A Biography, vol. 2 ()
  • The richest source of creation is feeling, followed by a vision of its meaning.

  • The core of creation is to summon an image and the power to work with the image.

  • If you can't create, you destroy.

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • 1959, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, vol. 6 ()
  • I learned very early in my life that music could transform, could transfigure, could transpose a human battle into beauty. When I was 16 and I became a painter's model ... I was learning about color from the painters. Later on, I learned the importance of the image, which I have always used in my writing as coming from the dream, a way of thinking which no modern life has ever been able to eradicate. As a writer I wanted simply to take all the various expressions of art into writing, and I thought each art must nourish the other, each one can add to the other. And I would take into writing what I learned from dancing, what I learned from music, what I learned from design, what I learned from architecture. From every form of art there is something that I wanted to include in writing, and I wanted writing, poetic writing, to include them all. Because I thought always of art not only as a balm, as a consolation, but I thought of art, as I said, as a supreme act of magic which is contained in certain words that I always tell students to write on a large piece of paper and to live with. These were all the words concerned with trans-: transcend, transmute, transform, transpose, transfigure. All the acts of creation were to me contained in these words, and I felt that no matter what we were living through, we had to find our strength, our harmony and a synthesis by which we could live, and make a center to resist outer events and whatever experience shattered us. I always used art to put something together again. That is why I favored the artist, because I learned from him this creating out of nothing.

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • 1973, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, vol. 7 ()
  • ... one detects creative power by its capacity to conquer one's detachment.

  • Much that you need has been lost ... We must use what we have to invent what we desire.

  • Every creative act is an act of hypocrisy and violence. You may have to think about it for a while, but I am sure you can discover your own.

  • 'Creativeness' often consists of merely turning up what is already there. Did you know that right and left shoes were thought up only a little more than a century ago?

  • Creativity varies inversely with the number of cooks involved with the broth.

  • Doing nothing is something. ... Downtime is where we become ourselves ... I don't believe you can write poetry, or compose music, or become an actor without downtime, and plenty of it, a hiatus that passes for boredom but is really the quiet moving of the wheels inside that fuel creativity. ... There is also ample psychological research suggesting that what we might call 'doing nothing' is when human beings actually do their best thinking, and when creativity comes to call.

  • The great enemy of creativity is fear. When we're fearful, we freeze up — like a nine-year-old who won't draw pictures, for fear everybody will laugh. Creativity has a lot to do with a willingness to take risks. Think about how children play. They run around the playground, they trip, they fall, they get up and run some more. They believe everything will be all right. They feel capable; they let go. Good businesspeople behave in a similar way: they lose $15 million, gain $20 million, lose $30 million and earn it back. If that isn't playing, I don't know what is!

  • I have to lose my mind to be able to concentrate.

  • Who creates unless he has a vacuum to fill?

    • Diane Glancy,
    • "Portrait of the Lone Survivor," Lone Dog's Winter Count ()
  • There is no architect / Can build as the muse can; / ... She lays her beams in music, / In music every one ...

  • The things we fear most in organizations — fluctuations, disturbances, imbalances — need not be signs of an impending disorder that will destroy us. Instead, fluctuations are the primary source of creativity.

  • Mysticism and creativity have this in common: they require a person to live truthfully at every level of being.

  • You can't use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.

    • Maya Angelou,
    • in Jeffrey M. Elliot, ed., Conversations With Maya Angelou ()
  • The urge is to create. The outcome belongs to God.

  • Another thing that seems quite helpful to the creative process is having babies. It does not detract at all from one's creativity. It reminds one that there is always more where that came from and there is never any shortage of ideas or of the ability to create. The process of being pregnant and then of having the baby and getting up in the night only puts one more in touch with this fecund part of one's self.

    • Fay Weldon,
    • in Nina Winter, Interview With the Muse ()
  • To love is to be engaged is to work is to be interested is to create.

  • The patience and ability to work through a long series of steps — to figure things out — is a foundation for the child's creative life later on.

    • Ann Lewin,
    • in Daniel Goleman, Paul Kaufman, and Michael Ray, The Creative Spirit ()
  • For the longest time I didn't realize I was creative — I just thought I was strange.

  • Catastrophe and creation are twins.

  • As long as we avoid the creative, we are condemned to reaction.

  • Creation is the art of bringing the unseen into the visible world.

  • Improvisation can be either a last resort or an established way of evoking creativity.

  • ... the artistic temperament ... sometimes seems to me to be a battleground, a dark angel of destruction and a bright angel of creativity wrestling, and when the bright angel dominates, out comes a great work of art, a Michelangelo David or a Beethoven symphony.

  • When we are writing, or painting, or composing, we are, during the time of creativity, freed from normal restrictions, and are opened to a wider world, where colours are brighter, sounds clearer, and people more wondrously complex than we normally realize.

  • All children are artists, and it is an indictment of our culture that so many of them lose their creativity, their unfettered imaginations, as they grow older.

  • Creativity is a voracious animal. It needs to be fed regularly. If you leave it untended for too long, you run the risk of starving your passion and diminishing your spirit.

  • I love creation more than life, and I must express myself before disappearing.

  • Creations, whether they are children, poems, or organizations, take on a life of their own.

  • I can always be distracted by love, but eventually I get horny for my creativity.

  • ... the creative mind is as delicately balanced as the needle trembling in a compass; the presence of antagonistic metal deflects it instantly.

  • Creativity comes by breaking the rules, by saying you're in love with the anarchist.

    • Anita Roddick,
    • in Daniel Goleman, Paul Kaufman, and Michael Ray, The Creative Spirit ()
  • First, you have to have fun. Second, you have to put love where your labour is. Third, you have to go in the opposite direction to everyone else.

  • Creation, like destruction, always seems to get a little out of hand; otherwise it could hardly be called creative.

  • I learned three important things in college — to use a library, to memorize quickly and visually, to drop asleep at any time given a horizontal surface and fifteen minutes. What I could not learn was to think creatively on schedule.

  • The creative urge is the demon that will not accept anything second-rate.

  • Mystery is at the heart of creativity. That, and surprise.

  • Creativity — like human life itself — begins in darkness.

  • There is only one answer to destructiveness and that is creativity.

  • I see the mind of a five-year-old as a volcano with two vents; destructiveness and creativeness.

  • Self-forgetfulness in creativity can lead to self-transcendence ...

  • Many people are inventive, sometimes cleverly so. But real creativity begins with the drive to work on and on and on.

  • ... there seem to be times of reception and times of creation and it is perhaps difficult not to confuse the two.

  • ... creative thought seems prone to flower in symbols before it ripens to fruit.

  • Learning to be and learning to be creative are two sides of the same coin.

  • Composing gives me great pleasure. ... There is nothing which surpasses the joy of creation, if only because through it one wins hours of self-forgetfulness, when one lives in a world of sound.

    • Clara Schumann,
    • 1853, in Berthold Litzmann, Clara Schumann: An Artist's Life, vol. 2 ()
  • As I have gotten braver I have censored myself less.

  • Creativity can be described as letting go of certainties.

  • Satisfaction is the enemy of creativity ...

  • I believe that the creative impulse is natural in all human beings, and that it is particularly powerful in children unless it is suppressed. Consequently, one is behaving normally and instinctively and healthily when one is creating — literature, art, music, or whatever. An excellent cook is also creative! I am disturbed that a natural human inclination [creative work] should, by some Freudian turn of phrase, be considered compulsive — perhaps even pathological. To me this is a complete misreading of the human enterprise. One should also enjoy one's work, and look forward to it daily.

    • Joyce Carol Oates,
    • in Leif Sjoberg, "An Interview With Joyce Carol Oates," Contemporary Literature ()
  • ... fiction and lies are both works of creative art, and creation always reveals the creator.


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  • I work better the more I am confined and the less I am distracted. My ultimate place would be a closet.

    • ,
    • in The New York Times ()
  • ... it was one of her theories that no work was ever wasted by the creative worker ...

  • Nature operates by profusion. Think of the nearly infinite number of seeds that fall to earth, only a fraction of which take root to become trees; of those five thousand or so drones that exist solely to ensure the fertilization of one queen bee; of the millions of sperm competing so fiercely to fertilize one egg. Similarly, human beings engaged in the creative process explore an astronomical number of possible patterns before settling on an idea.

  • [On her collaboration with Adolph Green:] We stare at each other. We meet, whether or not we have a project, just to keep up a continuity of working. There are long periods when nothing happens, and it's just boring and disheartening. But we have a theory that nothing's wasted, even those long days of staring at one another. You sort of have to believe that, don't you? That you had to go through all that to get to the day when something did happen.

  • Find your own voice & use it, / use your own voice & find it.

  • Brushes and paints are all I have / To speak the music of my soul.

  • ... in creative minds there is a strong instinct for any progressive movement forward ...

  • Imagination is the key to creation. With our thoughts and dreams we can bring anything into existence. Our source of originality and creativity is the divine spark within us.

  • The path of creativity is always a figure eight. The first half begins with relaxation, becoming still, listening and more listening, uncluttering, stepping away from the sheer force of being driven to accomplish and get things done. The other half of the figure eight is the movement to new energy, the energy to create after attuning to that which the Divine Wisdom wants to create through us.

  • To lose faith in oneself is to cease to create; to cease to create is to cease to exist.

  • I have so many ideas that I don't sleep at night.

  • I think every creative impulse that a working writer, or artist of any sort has, comes out of that dark old country where dreams come from.

  • I thought that to have a painting in a museum exhibit would be the ultimate. Then it happened and it wasn't the ultimate. The next day I was back in my studio still trying to figure out what I was doing.

  • The most demanding part of living a lifetime as an artist is the strict discipline of forcing oneself to work steadfastly along the nerve of one's own most intimate sensitivity.

  • ... the capacity to work feeds on itself and has its own course of development. This is what artists have going for them.

  • Their [artists'] essential effort is to catapult themselves wholly, without holding back one bit, into a course of action without having any idea where they will end up. They are like riders who gallop into the night, eagerly leaning on their horse's neck, peering into a blinding rain. And they have to do it over and over again.

  • I'm only the instrument through which one particular art is expressed. Poetry flows through me but it originates in the wellspring of creation that is the source of us all. When you strike out at someone else's achievement you are attacking your own share of a great gift.

  • Those who create are rare; those who cannot are numerous. Therefore, the latter are stronger.

  • When I can no longer create anything, I'll be done for.

    • Coco Chanel,
    • in Marcel Haedrich, Coco Chanel: Her Life, Her Secrets ()
  • We are born either to create or to appreciate someone who does.

  • Creating art and creating ourselves are the same act; art, world, ourselves — these are continuous with one another.

  • The different faculties [of the mind] divide themselves in the main into two classifications, which I call hot (the creative) and cold (the critical).

  • Suddenly creativity is the popular goal. Ironically, a quality dissonant with our conventional education process is greatly in demand in adults — and those who survive the system without losing their creative integrity are richly rewarded. The magic word in a book's title almost ensures sales: Creative Stitchery, Creative Cookery, Creative Gardening. ... Perhaps we are trying to develop something that was innately ours.

  • I always imagined I would have a life very different from the one that was imagined for me, but I understood from a very early time that I would have to revolt in order to make that life. Now I am convinced that in any creativity there exists this element of revolt.

    • Leonor Fini,
    • in Nina Winter, Interview With the Muse ()
  • I am at my strongest when I embrace the throes of creative energy. This energy comes when I am most firmly rooted in my self and remember there are no rules that say who can and who cannot be an artist.

    • Happy/L.A. Hyder,
    • in Joanna Kadi, ed., Food for Our Grandmothers: Writings by Arab-American and Arab-Canadian Feminists ()
  • Creativity is remembering who you were as a child and transferring that to who you are as an adult. Creativity is remembered not learned.

    • Maria Girsch,
    • in Maria Girsch and Charlie Girsch, Inventivity ()
  • ... those who have been required to memorize the world as it is will never create the world as it might be.

  • Creativity is a product of genetic qualities, formative childhood experiences, and an environment which offers the opportunity to develop and demonstrate ability. It is possible to teach people more effective methods of solving problems, to foster a child's creative promise and recover some of an adult's lost capacity, but if there is a formula for raising creative people, it remains unknown.

  • ... perhaps the best thing we can do for the creative person is to stay out of his way.

  • Creative endeavor requires physical and mental space; without privacy, solitude, and time it suffocates. ... it is impossible to pursue original thought in the scattered remnants of a day or of a lifetime.

  • ... quiet is the oxygen of creativity.

    • Marjorie Miller,
    • "Weighing Words," in The Los Angeles Times Magazine ()
  • For me, creativity is essentially a spiritual experience, a conversation between my soul and me.

  • I have found that the key to not being blocked is to not worry about it. Ever.

  • One of the major challenges facing creative individuals is that of building upon the continuity of human knowledge while achieving novel insights. ... On the one hand, to intensify an inquiry and develop a sense of commitment to a creative life, the learner needs models, teachers, and collaborators. On the other hand, the individual, while building upon the past, needs to transform it, and thus broaden his or her choices.

  • Our current obsession with creativity is the result of our continued striving for immortality in an era when most people no longer believe in an afterlife.

  • If the door is locked, try the window.

  • Creation is a better means of self-expression than possession; it is through creating, not possessing, that life is revealed.

  • When it all comes together, a creative life has the nourishing power we normally associate with food, love, and faith.

    • Twyla Tharp,
    • in Mason Currey, Daily Rituals: How Artists Work ()
  • Surrender, not control, is always the path.

  • ... chaos is the first step in the creative process.

  • ... everything in the human being creates.

    • Shelley Winters,
    • in Lewis Funke and John E. Booth, Actors Talk About Acting ()
  • Facility is an obstacle to any creativeness. In any art form. You get a nice effect without effort, sometimes by accident, and you're satisfied; but there's nothing substantial underneath.

  • Creation lives alone in a small temple. Only one may worship at a time.

  • Creativity comes from a conflict of ideas.

  • To this day I do not know whether the power which has inspired my works is something related to religion, or is indeed religion itself.

    • Käthe Kollwitz,
    • letter, in Hans Kollwitz, ed., The Diaries and Letters of Käthe Kollwitz ()
  • Fear goes hand-in-hand with artistic creation, and no amount of success will make the fear go away entirely.

  • Creativity is not a solitary movement. That is its power. Whatever is touched by it, whoever hears it, sees it, senses it, knows it, is fed. That is why beholding someone else's creative word, image, idea, fills us up, inspires us to our own creative work. A single creative act has the potential to feed a continent. One creative act can cause a torrent to break through stone.

  • The creative act is not pure. History evidences it. Ideology demands it. Society exacts it.

  • mitch had convinced sassafras that everything waz an art/ so nothin in life cd be approached lightly/ creation waz inherent in every thing anybody ever did right/ that waz one of the mottos of the house ...

  • Creation is everything you do. Make something.

  • The person who can combine frames of reference and draw connections between ostensibly unrelated points of view is likely to be the one who makes the creative breakthrough.

  • Creativity is like a great receptive womb.

  • People who live entirely by the fertility of their imaginations are fascinating, brilliant and often charming. But they should be sat next to at dinner parties, not lived with.

  • For creative people, it is important to save room for life.

  • You start by copying other people's paintings or music or whatever. You get all of those skills before you branch out. Really creative people have a fantastic ability to copy things and then combine them in new ways. And whether we're talking about genes or memes, recombination is the real heart of creativity.

  • People frequently believe the creative life is grounded in fantasy. The more difficult truth is that creativity is grounded in reality, in the particular, the focused, the well observed or specifically imagined.

  • Creativity is a lot like looking at the world through a kaleidoscope. You look at a set of elements, the same ones everyone else sees, but then reassemble those floating bits and pieces into an enticing new possibility.

  • ... the act of creating is a healing gesture, as sacred as prayer, as essential to the spirit as food to the body.

    • Jan Phillips,
    • in Tona Pearce Myers, ed., The Soul of Creativity: Insights Into the Creative Process ()
  • Hope is a key ingredient in what drives creativity — the hope of bringing to life what exists in the imagination, of transforming the ordinary into the extraordinary ...

  • Creativity has got to start with humanity and when you're a human being, you feel, you suffer.

  • In a time of destruction, create something: a poem, a parade, a community, a school, a vow, a moral principle; one peaceful moment.