Saturday, March 31, 2007

Natalie Goldberg: Painting and writing

Natalie is the author of the fantastc book Writing Down the Bones which has had an enormous influence on how I see creativity. Some years ago she wrote a book called Living Color which was about her paintings and how when she gave up paiting she feel into a deep deep struggle with her writing. Ironically she had given up the painting in order to be 'serious' and 'commited' to her writing - which then suffered. Her paintings infused her writing. I wonder how many creative people need the infusion of something else to support their creativity. I find that a really dry life for me is one where I am not cooking anything of interest or I've stopped playing with wool.

Here's an extract from Natalie's book.


Kiriko said...

I read Writing Down the Bones for the first time when I was around 11 and it's been part of my brain ever since. I don't even really write; my work is almost entirely visual. I really love her book though because her ideas about writing can be applied to any other form of creativity, be it business or painting or cake-making.

Which leads to the question of whether creative types need some outside source to fuel their work. I know that I certainly do. My various visual projects are almost always ways for me to sort through ideas I've found or formulated about apparently disaparate or unrelated topics. For a while I was thinking about decay-- like the Roman empire, or trees dying and petrifying into stone. And my ideas about it came through in my sketchbooks from the time and in pieces that I did with big sheets of paper. I don't know if it's possible to make something out of nothing. Making things without drawing from the stuff of the world around me would not only be impossible for me, but pretty useless. Anyways, good post.

Anyways, good post.

Anonymous said...

Kiriko I agree I think the principles of 'writing practice' can be put to many more art forms. I certainly notice that the more I practice for example photography and drawing the better I get at it!

I think the idea of having a practice or artform different to your main one is the interesting idea. Eg I know a poet who is also a folk singer, a photographer who is a dedicated belly dancer, another photographer who climbs as her hobby, a poet who does cross country running. Rather than these things being a distraction from ones main creative form are they actually essential in maintaining it?