Building The Perfect Beast

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Archive for the ‘creativity’ tag

Speaking of Creativity…

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A great article in Slate bout Cormac McCarthy and what went on behind the scenes in the creation of Blood Meridian. Not from interviews with McCarthy, but distilled from the drafts of his work.

There is a bit in this that mirrors the creative process highlighted in the Seinfeld interview.

It’s easy to forget that McCarthy is blood and bones. We often fall into the trap of thinking about artists, particularly the reclusive ones, as single-minded and stoic. But releasing your personal papers is, invariably, an exercise in vulnerability—and there are moments of it in McCarthy’s notes. In a letter sent around 1979, he told a close friend that he had not touched the Blood Meridian manuscript in six months out of frustration. In his notebooks he searched for inspiration, jotting down quotes from William James, Joseph Heller, Lord Byron, Martin Luther King Jr., Flaubert, and Wagner. And he was certainly not immune to bad ideas: Early on he fancied Blood Meridian to include period prints, mainly lithographs and woodcuts, illustrating the gang’s Western journey.

Work. No matter who you are, the creative process is work. And sometimes you have to fight your way through until you come up with something you love. Or at least like enough to release it into the world.

Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian: Early drafts and history | via

Written by Jeffery Battersby

December 20th, 2012 at 11:43 am

Jerry Seinfeld Intends to Die Standing Up

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Great article and video in the Times about Jerry Seinfeld and the creative process. The video is worth the time, but this little bit sums much of it up. Continuous work and continuous reworking until everything is insanely great.

Perhaps he’s the Steve Jobs of the Comedy world.

For Seinfeld, whose worth Forbes estimated in 2010 to be $800 million, his touring regimen is a function not of financial necessity but rather of borderline monomania — a creative itch he can’t scratch. “I like money,” he says, “but it’s never been about the money.” Seinfeld will nurse a single joke for years, amending, abridging and reworking it incrementally, to get the thing just so. “It’s similar to calligraphy or samurai,” he says. “I want to make cricket cages. You know those Japanese cricket cages? Tiny, with the doors? That’s it for me: solitude and precision, refining a tiny thing for the sake of it.”

Jerry Seinfeld Intends to Die Standing Up | via

Written by Jeffery Battersby

December 20th, 2012 at 11:17 am

Elizabeth Gilbert On Genius

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Just picked up the very cool TED app from the app store and had the opportunity to check out Elizabeth Gilbert’s talk on genius. I’ve never read any of Elizabeth Gilbert’s books, but what she says about the creative process is excellent.

If you don’t have an iPhone or iPod Touch you can watch the video on the site via the link above.

Written by Jeffery Battersby

February 11th, 2009 at 10:14 am