Our Artistic Director Daniela Pavan discusses the topic of Light and Enlightenment from a business and a creative ideas development point of view with our host of the month, Award-Winning Author, Playwright, and novelist David James Parr.
“I honestly believe that creativity cannot be switched on and off, like a light switch. It’s a process that requires us to become comfortable with making mistakes because it includes failed attempts, it requires us to take courage and try, it’s a test and learn approach. And this creative anxiety is borne out of a society that expects perfection, that expects creatives to generate ideas quickly. This same society though teaches us that there are only right or wrong answers and leaves very little space to experiment and test ideas. Think about Thomas Edison. Its invention of the light bulb in 1879 came out as the result of tons of experiments. According to The Time, he tested more than 6,000 possible materials before finding the one that worked, the carbonized bamboo. Also, he made 1,000 unsuccessful attempts at inventing the light bulb. And when a reporter asked, “How did it feel to fail 1,000 times?” Edison replied, “I didn’t fail 1,000 times. The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps.” Edison kept persevering without giving up and gave birth to a disruptive invention for those times, which still is part of our current standards of living. What do you think David?”
“I totally agree with you Daniela. The creative process takes time: You have to accept that sometimes you’re not going to have the time, or the energy, to deliver on an idea. I’ve had what I thought were light bulb moments on the subway on my commute to work in the morning, but by the time I’ve been crammed inside a subway car, and had the train delayed between stops, and the air conditioning to go out, and then to spill out into a station and climb up the stairs, and so on—the idea gets lost. So it’s important to just relax and breathe and know that another idea will come, or maybe that same idea will come back. The writer Jamaica Kincaid once said—and I don’t remember the exact quote—but it was that sometimes writers need to just walk around and feel sad or emotional or go to dark places in their brain in order to illuminate some real truths…”
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