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The Creative Act: A Way of Being

Started by droqen, August 15, 2023, 04:35:38 PM

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Regarding Rick Rubin's
"The Creative Act: A Way of Being"


There re a lot of little tidbits in here that are useful and good. The first thing the book says is a great quote, but I'll avoid directly quoting every single little inspiring thing.


There is a great deal in this book that mirrors what I already know.

"The object isn't to make art, it's to be in that . . . state which makes art inevitable. -Robert Henri" (before table of contents)

"Use what's helpful. Let go of the rest." (before Everyone Is a Creator)

In Everyone[..], the idea that creation is ordinary and everyday, not (necessarily) performed or observed.

"Think of the universe as an eternal creative unfolding" (Tuning In)
—> it was at this point that I realized: the icons on the cover of the book, a circle with a dot in the middle opposite a circle without a dot in the middle, mirrored exactly Christopher Alexander's first two steps given in his unfolding process in book two of the nature of order.

The empty circle is that state which makes art inevitable; the circle with the dot in it is just that inevitable art.


". . . ideas . . . find a way to express themselves through us" (before The Source of Creativity)

"What we create allows us to share glimpses of . . . the unseen world."

These next few sections are losing me; they're not explicit enough by far. I want to be drawn into Rubin's psychic world but he does not paint a picture, rather leaving it undefined. I prefer a poetic definiteness to this.

". . . allowing us to access something bigger. . ."

Bigger, unseen, but what?


Yes, it's clear to me that Rubin believes in some supernatural source; in Look for Clues, he says "We receive . . . messages all the time," "transmissions," "What's the message? What could be the greater meaning?" "An integral part of the artist's work is deciphering these signals," "allow for the possibility that chance is not all that's at play," "the delicate mechanism of a clock at work," "the universe is nudging you . . . it's on your side and wants to provide everything you need to complete your mission."

I'm glad I listened to my first doubts regarding Rubin. This stuff is diametrically opposed to my perspective on the true material of creativity. I agree with many of his lower level practices (listening, making space, etc), but at a high level his faithful spirituality is a metaphor or belief system that I can't get into.


Self-Doubt speaks to the sensitivity of artists. "If you see tremendous beauty or tremendous pain where other people see little or nothing at all, you're confronted with big feelings all the time. These emotions can be confusing and overwhelming."

We do not have to harness these into works of art. He makes this clear too. This is a chapter about personal struggle and how to deal with it in a way that is positive before it is productive.

"If we'd rather not do it, let's not do it."

See Shevek's "If you don't want to do the work, you should not do it" from The Dispossessed [todo: link and fix quote]


Distraction - can be something automatic to get the too-conscious mind out of the way. A creative strategy, not "procrastination"


(I hate the meandering nature of these pieces of wisdom, these "78 Areas of Thought," so unstructured. I love Christopher Alexander's work that provides great names, wonderful imagery, useful organization. Rubin's wisdoms are so scattered.)


Patience, awareness, listening. "The artist works to experience life slowly, and then to re-experience the same thing anew. To read slowly, and to read and read again." (Patience)

See Pierre Menard [todo link]


"John Lennon once advised that if you start a song, write it through to the end in that sitting. . . . Get through a rough draft. A full, imperfect version is generally more helpful than a seemingly perfect fragment." (Inspiration)

Don't let a seed go undeveloped... or if you do, don't expect it to grow to its full breadth if you can't see it through now. Let yourself plant another seed tomorrow.


Seeds. Collect many seeds, then "we want to begin interacting with the seeds," (Experimentation), allowing them to unfold, step by step. "The heart of experiment is mystery. . . . You may be tempted to intervene and steer its development toward a specific goal or preconceived idea. . . . [instead,] Allow the seed to follow its own path toward the sun."

This is very good.

"For now, allow space for magic to enter."


"Base decisions on the internal feeling of being moved and notice what holds your interest."

I do this without choice lol


ok. I've reached the point wherei want to know more about the next part of the process but I think I'm going to leave the bookstore and finish my study of this book tomorrow or another day.

Page 154


"Try Everything" (157) — I thought this meant something different at a glance but I like the advice. An idea is so different from execution of the idea. So try it and find out. Try everything.

"Each unsuccessful solution gets you closer to one that works. . . . Enjoy the journey of cycling through all permissions to reveal a work's true form."

(Hmm. 'True' ... this still smacks of prophecy, a belief in some predestined future purpose. Will have to reflect on my feelings here.)