Elizabeth Gilbert on Nurturing Creativity

You can copy and paste this to watch it. It provides a perspective on art and inspiration that is at the same time ancient and radical to modern thought.


Elizabeth Gilbert muses on the impossible things we expect from artists and geniuses — and shares the radical idea that, instead of the rare person “being” a genius, all of us “have” a genius. It’s a funny, personal and surprisingly moving talk.

The author of Eat, Pray, Love, Elizabeth Gilbert has thought long and hard about some large topics. Her next fascination: genius, and how we ruin it.

Art in the Making: Entering the Void with the Eyes Open 4

Tree World

The flu made an unexpected visit, tempering my patience and enforcing some type of “subterranean” process that my thinking mind wasn’t completely able to access. When I recovered my strength enough to draw, this is what materialized.

I had been thinking about how someone once told me that the trees in our neighborhood are related to one another in a kind of community. Certainly many of them were here before the homes were. Who knows what their whisperings to one another across the street and fences are? I took the attitude of the tree world, eliminating the structures and leaving the spaces they occupy– save for one lone mailbox. The mail man walked down the sidewalk while I was drawing.

There is something not visible here, something that occupies the snowy space in the picture. I’m not yet sure what it is.

Entering the Void with the Eyes Open

A temporarily homeless man in London describes how he becomes more and more attentive to the interplay of ravens and magpies, squirrels and crows while he waits for night to fall.

You become enthralled by nature because you’re there for hours… you feel you’re touching nature or you’re just a part of it. And then the night closes in and you can hear the traffic decreasing and the pubs getting louder as people are going home. It’s at that point you think, now’s the time to go to sleep.

— Raymond Lunn (Londoners: The Days and Nights of London Now– as Told by Those Who Love It, Hate It, Live It, Left It And Long for It, by Craig Taylor