Don’t look at me in that tone of voice.


I really don’t believe I’m weird. I say, write “I know. I’m weird.” quite a bit, but when I do I’m being facetious, seriously. That said, I get told I’m weird by a fair amount of people, and they tell me so usually when I do something or say something that I feel is quite “normal”. Seriously, no kidding… Let me repeat… I really don’t believe I’m weird strange, odd, or otherwise bizarre, to any degree, in any way. It’s just sometimes fun to say I am, because it sometimes disarms people and gets them off my back. So for the record, I’m not weird. You are. 😛

Last night was really productive. Not only did I watch a pretty cool (failed) tv show pilot that was recently released on DVD. I also ran through several story scenarios, though they all wound up a lot darker (and in many ways more hackneyed) than they began as concepts. It could be I’m coming up with another story, or it could be that Garden Variety is warping into another story. I won’t know for a while, until after all these things I’m throwing at the wall begin to gel into a single narrative. Right now they’re all just tangentially related elements. So, we’ll see.

I’m going to sort of complain, sort of make a desire known now. Creativity is interesting. The process is interesting. I enjoy hearing, reading about peoples’ processes, individual techniques and muses, and the things they come up with. That’s really fun, insightful stuff. That said, the (slim) majority of what I see isn’t about individual processes and/or the things created. It’s intellectualization of the process, the standardization of creativity, instructions on how to be creative. That’s only occasionally interesting, and that’s often only if it’s done in an entertaining, novel way — such as a TED talk or something like that. I’m all for spreading the word about creativity and encouraging its growth and development, but I for one usually don’t see it as appetizing when it’s presented in a clinical fashion, regardless of the positive and reader-friendly comfort language used. I want to see the process, an account of the process, the ups and downs and ins and outs, the good and the bad, the triumphs and frustrations, from start to finish of a project. It’s one thing to see a car and be told how nice it is and hear about all the cool features and how cool you’ll be if you drive it. It’s another thing altogether to actually drive the thing. I want to see you drive, people. I don’t care what your car looks like or the technical specs. Everything comes out on the road. That’s where the action is. That’s what I want to see.

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6 Responses to Don’t look at me in that tone of voice.

  1. I think I understand what your saying, but I’m not sure. Do you want writers sharing their experiences to be more specific or do you wish to see more examples of their writing, or both? Wishing to deliver the goods, I am… Thank you for sharing your desires.

  2. tsactuo says:

    I’d like them to be specific, to let us really get a peek into their heads. Really, the vast majority of posts about being creative are the same, all the same general methods and “tricks” that we’ve been reading about for decades or more. What really provides instruction and inspiration is witnessing the process in action — or at least getting glimpses along the way. I liken it to the difference between reading a biography and an autobiography. There’s nothing like the first person accounts in autobios. There’s an honesty (even in lies) and a flair that’s immeasurably different than what we get in bios. The difference is that one is first-hand, in first person and the other is a detached account. When reading about creativity, 99% of the time I want to see the creating in process, not a description of the process from the outside.

    Share what you like of what you’re creating. Just please share the experience of creating, not just the formula (if there really is one).

  3. I think I get it. I have asked myself that question specifically when striving to find something to write about. This is what I have come up with. When all is well and nothing troubles me personally, nothing at all, I experience little creativity. When some person, subject, or condition, or whatever disturbs, saddens or angers me, it stirs up emotions that demand expression. Creativity begins when my need to express myself manifests into the fabrication of a story. It is a mysterious thing to describe. Pay attention to yourself and discover what triggers your own creativity. Is it sorrow, joy, curiosity? I think innate creativeness is what makes a person a writer or musician or artist of any kind. But there may be triggers that spring this inborn characteristic into materialization. I hope I have done what you ask in some small way. I may have at least contributed a drop into the bucket you would like to have filled.

    • tsactuo says:

      The thing isn’t that I want an explanation, a philosophy. I want to see the process as it evolves. Whether it’s a timeline about a project in a post or a series of posts where the artist just writes about everything going on in his/her head (and the outcomes) is irrelevant. Somebody today told me what I was looking for is a “creativity confession”, and I guess that could be one way of saying it. One of my kids said they thought I wanted to get in on the person’s internal creative monologue, and I thought that suited as well.

      Maybe I want something hard to get, but it’s what I want to see. Creative advice and instruction and motivational stuff grows on trees. It’s that common. I believe it’s also way different than what actually goes on in our noggins.

  4. I used to say, and sometimes still do, that if I were to have any one superpower that it would be the ability to process information like someone else and yet retain the ability to process like myself. I think this is similar to the desire that you are describing here. You want to be able to follow their brain as it goes from niggling emotion/thought to full blow finished product. You want to witness it all just as they are experiencing it and yet be able to analyze it separately. Am I close to hitting the spot?

    I think this is a lofty desire. I find sometimes that even the most creative minds have trouble describing exactly what is going on in their brain while it’s going on. And sometimes it seems that attempting to describe the process actually ruins it. It’s like a magic trick that the magician doesn’t know the secret to, they just know the results.

    • tsactuo says:

      You’re close, yes, Erin. Truly, I’m not looking to glean secrets or bottle the magic. Really, I would just like to know what’s going on in their heads, quite simply. No explanations required. The beauty of it, I believe, is that so often there is no real, definable, categorical, pigeonholeable, pinpointable, rational explanation for what goes on. For me, sometimes what happens in my head is literally:

      “I looked at [object], and all of the sudden I saw [story, from beginning to end].”

      Other times, it’s more complicated, of course. It’s the story of what goes into the creation more than the creation itself that interests me, and it’s not even necessarily to analyze it all. It’s fun just to know. Analyzing so often makes things so… blah. I can do analysis and critique as good as the next guy, maybe even better than some. I’d rather just enjoy the spectacle of creating than understand the mechanics. To me, it’s the artist that’s more interesting than the art, however spectacular the art winds up.

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