Posts Tagged ‘that pesky muse’

As the world says goodbye to Queen Elizabeth II, here’s an interesting story I’d never heard before, starring the British queen and an American duke.

When Duke Ellington Made a Record for Just One Person—Queen Elizabeth

By early 1959, the finished work was ready for performance. The Queen’s Suite was now a 20-minute work in six movements. The band recorded it over the course of three sessions in February and April 1959. A single golden disc was made, and sent to Buckingham Palace.

Now we can listen to it, too.

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Photo by Ryan Johns on Unsplash

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There are a lot of books, essays, posts and (no doubt) scratchings on cave walls discussing ways to be more creative. One of the most useful and compact versions I’ve found so far is a talk (via David Farland) by John Cleese, Monty Python funny man and deep thinker on this and other topics.

The video is only ten minutes long but does a terrific job of summarizing the essential requirements one needs to be creative. You don’t have to quit your day job or win a year-long fellowship or even trap your very own Muse. It’s simple really, and not what one might guess when thinking about the problem. We don’t need “more,” we need less. We need boundaries. Specifically, boundaries of time and boundaries of space.

If you’d like to hear Cleese in a longer discussion on the topic, check out his speech from 1991 as well.


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After my post last week about Isaac Asimov’s ideas on, well, ideas, a friend sent me great link on creativity. It’s over at Kim Manley Ort’s blog and is a nice introduction to Twyla Tharp’s 2006 book, The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life.

As one of America’s preeminent choreographers with more than half a century of creative experience, Tharp has a handle on how to channel the muse. The post introduces Tharp’s thoughts on creativity, how to call it, how to harness it and where to ride it when you do. Not all of her lessons may apply to you but most of it can be translated from person to person, and discipline to discipline. The fact that her chosen form of communication is dance does not mean that her advice is necessarily less relevant for those of us who write.

I found her thoughts insightful; I hope you do too.

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