Well maybe a little.
Over the Easter weekend I finally had some time to read one of the books in the pile waiting to be read. On Saturday I started to read “Living with a Creative Mind“, by Jeff and Julie Crabtree, and couldn’t put it down until I had finished it. And then today (Monday) I skimmed through the highlights again (I used a serious amount of yellow fluoro pen marking key phrases or sections the first time through).
The book turned out to be exactly what I needed at this time, putting a lot I have been feeling and thinking about into perspective. It was encouraging to realize that my ideas and feelings are not bad, and that I had to somehow get those straightened out to match others’ expectations.
Jeff Crabtree has been someone I’ve watched with fascination and a big smile because I love the way that what he does and says is unexpected, and I’m sure his t-shirts have messed with the heads of more than one person in his lifetime. Jeff is a musician, and has been principal of an arts college. Jeff’s wife Julie is a psychologist, and has counselled people at the arts college. The book was borne out of the two of them learning about how Jeff ticked, and watching the similarities in experiences in students at the college.
“Living with a Creative Mind” looks at:
- What is creativity, and the processes involved in creation
- Typical behaviours and psychology of creatives
- The nine dimensions of a creative mind: a revealing look at different aspects of how a creative person thinks
- What are some of the things which inhibit creativity and get creatives off track
- How to live with those elements to a creative person’s mind and emotions, how to build physical and emotional resilience
- Living with a creative person
- Leading creative people, including what are the best environments to encourage creativity
While the examples in the book apply primarily to musicians, actors or the performing arts, it applies equally to other people who create, writers, songwriters, programmers, artists, and so on.
Just one example of a new concept to me is the notion of “skinlessness”, whether creative people “feel their own pain more intensely and feel others’ pain as well. This is also based on the belief that creative people are not only better able to describe their own emotions, but the feel other’s emotions more intensely.” The book goes into this concept of being a “skin-covered antenna” in more detail, but is summarized quite well by this quote from Pearl Buck:
The truly creative mind in any field is no more than this: A human creature born abnormally, inhumanely sensitive. To them… a touch is a blow, a sound is a noise, a misfortune is a tragedy, a joy is an ecstasy, a friend is a lover, a lover is a god, and failure is death.
Add to this cruelly delicate organism the overpowering necessity to create, create, create — so that without the creating of music or poetry or books or buildings or something of meaning, their very breath is cut off…
They must create, must pour out creation. By some strange, unknown, inward urgency they are not really alive unless they are creating.
I can’t do justice to summarizing what’s in the book: you really have to read it! Whether you are a creative person or you know someone who is, I highly recommend it.
Here’s where to find out more about the book:
I’ll certainly be telling everyone who will listen about the book.