Amy Tan: The Sources of Creativity

The TED conference has featured several talks about creativity in recent years. Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love) gave a little spiel about “creative genius” at this year’s conference. Before that, famed psychologist Mihaly Czikszentmihalyi spoke about the relationship between creativity and happiness. (It all boils down to “flow.”) And now we feature novelist Amy Tan (The Joy Luck Club), who locates the source of her own creativity, especially when writing, in her family history and big existential questions. The talk runs a good 24 minutes.


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  1. mike gibbowr says . . . | February 3, 2010 / 11:50 pm

    Amy Tan, is insightful and down to earth in her presentation… but what impressed me most was her inclination to question WHY… and to explore where ever that might take her. If you want to know how creativity works… you have to be willing to risk the unknown and be prepared to discover a Universe beyond your present state of mind. Creativity… begins, is nurtured, and finds expression in the question…

    It’s Time…
    Copyright 2008 Michael Gibbowr

    Who am I ?
    What is my Purpose in Life ?
    Is there an Answer ?
    What is it… ?

    As to the First Question…
    You are among the Most Unique Within Your Species
    An Irreplaceable Specimen of Potentiality
    Capable of The Most Consequential Achievements
    Ever Conceived by Mortal Man

    Secondly, You were Designed
    With a Specific Thought in Mind
    To Pursue Expression of What Resides In You
    Not To Mimic Another’s Attributes
    But To Discover Your Own Pursuits

    To Do What It Is That You Do Best…
    To Question, Challenge and Explore, an Unyielding Quest
    To Look into The Looking Glass of Life
    And Cut Through the B.S. like a Razor-Edged-Knife
    Going Beyond the Perceptions of the Conventional View
    To Reveal That To Yourself, You’ve Remained True…

    And That In Its Entirety
    Is What Purpose Has Intended For You To Pursue
    Without Qualification
    Paying The Price Required Of You

    Thirdly, if up to now The Answer hasn’t been Clear
    Pursuit of Your Personal Best means Facing Your Fears
    In spite of Disappointments, Heartache or Tears
    Yes, Purpose Requires Resilience From You
    Giving Your All, In All That You Do

    Fourth, and finely…
    If You’re Courageous Enough To Stay The Course
    You’ll Learn to Find Meaning
    Amidst Celebration and Loss
    You’ll Live Life On Purpose…

    Knowing Your Purpose
    Is Uniquely Your Own
    With an Unsatisfied Satisfaction
    In Having Ventured Beyond Your Comfort Zone
    More Importantly, you’ll have Expressed Personal Gifts
    As Only Your Perspective Befits

    Who am I ?
    What is my Purpose in Life ?
    Is there an Answer ?
    What is it… ?

    Well, now you Know…
    So off with You…
    It’s Time to Do…
    And Be…
    And Grow…
    ~

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