Thursday, October 6, 2011

on creativity

When I am, as it were, completely myself, entirely alone, and of good cheer - say, traveling in a carriage, or walking after a good meal, or during the night when I cannot sleep; it is on such occasions that my ideas flow best and most abundantly.  Whence and how they come, I know not; nor can I force them...

When I proceed to write, the committing to paper is done quickly enough, for everything is, as I said before, already finished... But why my productions take from my hand that particular form and style that makes them Mozartish, and different from the works of other composers, is probably owing to the same cause which renders my nose so large or so aquiline, or, in short, make it Mozart's, and different from those other people. For I really do not study or aim at originality.

~ Mozart
translation by Edward Holmes

Mozart as a child, painted by Greuze

You will write if you will write without thinking of the result in terms of a result, but think of the writing in terms of discovery, which is to say that creation must take place between the pen and the paper, not before in a thought or afterwards in a recasting.  Yes, before in a thought , but not in careful thinking.  It will come if it is there and if you will let it come, and if you have anything you will get a sudden creative recognition... The great thing is not ever to think about form but let it come.  Does that sound strange from me?  They have accused me of thinking about nothing else.  Do you see the real joke?  It is the critics who have really thought about form always, and I have thought about - writing!

~ Gertrude Stein

The artist is a receptacle of emotions come from no matter where: from the sky, the earth, a piece of paper, a passing figure, a cobweb. This is why one must not discriminate between things.  There is no rank among them.  One must take one's good where one finds it...

When we invented cubism, we had no intention of inventing cubism, but simply of expressing what was in us. Nobody drew up a program of action, and through our friends the poets followed our efforts attentively, they never dictated to us.  The young painter of today often outline a program for themselves to follow and try to do their assignments correctly like well-behaved schoolboys.

The painter passes through states of fullness and emptying.  That is the whole secret of art.

~ Pablo Picasso
translated by Brewster Ghiselin

quotations taken here from Nine Gates - Entering the Mind of Poetry
by Jane Hirshfield