Chris Padilla/Blog / Books

Creativity as Conversation

Matthew Hinsley's Form & Essence quotes William Stafford's "A Way of Writing"

A writer is not so much someone who has something to say as he is someone who has found a process that will bring about new things he would not have thought of if he had not started to say them. That is, he does not draw on a reservoir; instead, he engages in an activity that brings to him a whole succession of unforeseen stories...For the person who follows with trust and forgiveness what occurs to him, the world remains always ready and deep, an inexhaustible environment, with the combined vividness of an actuality and flexibility of a dream. Working back and forth between experience and thought, writers have more than space and time can offer. They have the whole unexplored realm of human vision.

There is no certainty when you sit down to write. That's the magic! It's simultaneously a daunting aspect of the process as much as it is the whole spiritual point of doing it in the first place!

While explaining the importance of letting go of certainty in creative process, Matt shares this:

Have you had a good conversation recently? Did you say something interesting, profound even?...If you did, I can almost guarantee that you were accessing your creative self. And I will also suggest that there's no way you could have given that advice, in that way, had you not been having that conversation. It was in the act of conversing, or reacting to energy and idea, that you put thoughts and experiences swirling in your subconscious together into words that became concrete statements in Form as they exited your mouth.

An anecdote to the blank page then is to make the creative process something other than closing the door, turning off the lights, and staring at a blank page. But instead, a conversation.

I've been in a rut with writing music. I haven't been brining reference into my practice. I've been sitting at the keyboard and simply waiting for what comes out. While there's an intuition that's part of the process, the energy is muted when starting this way.

But nothing kick-starts writing music better than listening to something I love, and then wanting to play around with it in my own way. In the same way that visual artists aren't cheating when they draw from reference, it's quite the opposite - the music is more buoyant and fun when it's in conversation with other recordings and musicians.

This conversation-style of creating is baked into the culture of blogging! Much of blogging is finding something you read that was interesting, then adding your own two cents while connecting it to a particular audience. You're adding your own story to the mix, telling the original author's tale in a way that adds a new dimension, compounding it's message, and creating a new audience for the source material.

Creatively conversing turns wonder into art.