Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Unpredictable Magic

It is hard to explain how an individual child learns to read. The teachers work systematically through carefully considered instructional methods, but when the child begins to read, it is always experienced as a magical moment, a time when all of the elements contributing to the process are somehow integrated.

This is a description of how the creative process works.

Whether it involves learning how to read, playing the piano, creating a piece of art, riding a bike, or writing a graduate school thesis, there is usually a decisive moment or turning point within an overall process which can only be described as magical.

It is an instant when all of the frustration, seemingly futile efforts, and tedious drills play their respective parts in a collective creation. A condition that feels as though the individual person acts together with many other forces. A varied series of events and motions carry us over a new threshold, and we can never exactly describe how it happened.

It occurs magically but upon the foundation of focused exercise and preparation. All of the pieces, the good, and the bad, play vital roles in the creative act. Creativity is fed by the difficult course of events as well as by the instants of epiphany that we commonly associate with successful expression.

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