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A New Definition of Genius

March 30, 2010

I have been avoiding this space.  Again.  It is always in the background of my thoughts.  “I haven’t posted,” I think to myself, and then I let it trail out of my mind.  Every morning, when I read the wonderful words that you all share with me, I think, “I should really write a post.”   But then it is time to go to Target to get the birthday present and some Clorox wipes.  Inspiration eludes me.  But, what keeps coming back to me is a link that Laini posted about writing.  It is a lecture that Elizabeth Gilbert gave at TED Talks about “Genius” and nurturing creativity.  I would like to share it with you.

What I love about this is the notion that the genius is an outside source of inspiration.  This rings true to me.  There have always been times when I have had the urgent need to write, and the words sometimes come faster than I can handle.   Most of the time, however, it is just me, with my butt in the chair struggling to get any words down.  That is where I am today, and where I have been for most of this here blog.  But, alas, I am showing up.  I would love to hear what you think about this notion.  Do you ever brush up against your genius?  What is it like for you?

*****

I have not written about the books I have read for a while!

I read Pat Conroy’s South of Broad a while ago.  It was a good read, but long, and drawn out.  I was reading it at the last minute again, before bookclub, so I was trying to read it fast.  Well, those of you who have read Pat Conroy before know that he is not an author whose books are read fast.  They are detailed and linger on each and every detail.  I swear the book could be reduced by half and still be a very good book with a very good story.  Still good though, even if it was slow.  And, there is a twist at the end that makes you gasp!

My last bookclub book was Mudbound by Hillary Jordan.  It takes place during the last of WWII and the time period after the war, in the south.  It is a book that delves into racism, the civil rights movement, gender roles and the like.  I really liked this book.  It was a fast read and it makes you think of many social norms of that time and of our time now.  I would recommend it.

Sarah, Jeff and I read Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life by Wendy Mass separately, but together.  There were three bookmarks in the book at once and we all fought over the book.  I really enjoyed this book.  There was a little mystery and some great life lessons.  Sarah and Jeff liked it as well.

I am still attempting to read The Book Thief by Markus Zusak.  I am not that far into it, and a friend told me it is a slow start.  Thank goodness!  I thought there was something wrong with me.  I have heard nothing but good things about this book, and this is the third time I have attempted to read it.  I haven’t gotten over the hump yet.  I am still at under 100 pages.  I will be reading this book before any other.  My next bookclub book is Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford.  I will be starting that one next.  Any books that you would like to share?

*****

We are going on vacation soon for spring break.  I have so much to do before we leave, I think I am getting hives.  I wanted to get some new yarn before we have to leave so I could begin on the baby blankets and hats I need to crochet and knit on the plane, but I don’t think I can get them in time now.  I hate going on vacation.  It is so much work.  Once we get there, it will be a blast.  But right now?  I would rather cancel and stay home.

How are you guys doing?  Any news?

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6 Comments
  1. March 30, 2010 2:12 pm

    I’m always really grateful that the writers I love and friends I adore (you’re in both categories, by the way), post as often as they do. Although sometimes my reaction is: whew! now I can relax, they posted so I can GOOF OFF. I am a slacker.

    No news. No motivation either. And sadly, no real book recommendations.

    • March 31, 2010 6:55 am

      Hey! I am a slacker too! This is why I have so much to do at the last minute ALL THE TIME. Wish we could goof off together…. And love and adoration right back at you…plus BIG HUGS!

  2. March 31, 2010 12:18 am

    Vacation IS so much work — I always say that I need a vacation to get over the packing process… which is awfully convenient when we’re leaving on vacation. :) What kind of vacation are you taking?

    I love that Elizabeth Gilbert talk. In fact, it often comes to mind when I find myself stuck; it helps me to shrug, turn back to the page, and hope that my continued effort will guilt my muse into getting its act together. (As opposed to slamming my computer shut and wandering the streets in a bathrobe muttering about how I’ll never be a writer. Ahem.)

    I definitely buy the idea of an outside source of inspiration. My best times of writing are when the words rush at me faster than I can type them, and it’s exhilarating to feel a part of something larger than myself. That said, I’m learning that my writing rhythms and habits have a lot to do with my inspiration too. If I’ve taken a couple of days off, I will have a hard time coming back to the page and will have to push a lot of words through a sieve before they’ll start flowing again. Fascinating stuff, isn’t it?

    • March 31, 2010 7:19 am

      Speaking of…how was your vacation? Hope you all had fun! We are going to visit my parents in Palm Springs CA, and doing a little bit of San Diego while we are there. My kids can’t wait to go, and I am dragging my feet.

      I should have linked your post about your muse! I am so mad that I didn’t think of that while I was writing yesterday. Well, just in case there are others reading this comment: Bethany wrote an OUTSTANDING post about her very own Genius. Click this link to read it, you won’t be disappointed!

      http://www.coffeestainedclarity.com/2010/02/where-art-thou-orlagh/#comments

      I know what you mean about writing habits and how the words keep flowing when you write regularly. I wish I would do that. I have in the past and it is almost like I HAD to write after a while. It is sort of like running. Once you are over that hump that makes you feel like you are going to die every time you go out, suddenly if you skip a day you feel sluggish and yucky. It isn’t a rest to not go, it is to your own detriment.

  3. April 1, 2010 7:56 am

    Oh, I’ve been the worst. I just realized I posted THREE times in March. THREE. That is unacceptable! I enjoy blogs who update every day, with a light, breezy tone…so I need to find a happy medium. Somewhere between everyday and more than three times a month. I don’t know exactly why I’m muzzling myself, but I think it’s time to pull out all my writing books and get a little inspiration. As for you, don’t feel too bad…you’ve gone through a traumatic event, with your friend dying, and that sort of thing can kinda wipe a woman out.

    I love that Elizabeth Gilbert talk. I might have to watch it again. She is so endearing and funny.

    Speaking of knitting, I had stalled on that, too…just letting my bag and my many piles of yarn languish. Thankfully, I’ve promised a spring hat for a friend, so I got started on that last night. I hope you get some new yarn and enjoy beginning new projects!

    I still haven’t started Mudbound. Have been busy reading other amazing things, though!

    • April 1, 2010 3:05 pm

      Oh, good luck on your new knitting project! And, although I miss you terribly when you don’t post, it is okay. I know that the habit is hard to get out of…the not posting habit. Hope you have been doing well :) Do watch the Elizabeth Gilbert talk. It amazes me every time I see it!

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