“How does the creative impulse die in us? The English teacher who wrote fiercely on the margin of your theme with blue pencil: “Trite, rewrite,” helped to kill it. Critics kill it, your family. Families are great murderers of the creative impulse, particularly husbands. Older brothers sneer at younger brothers and kill it. There is that American pastime known as “kidding”, – with the result that everyone is ashamed and hang-dog about showing the slightest enthusiasm or passion or sincere feeling about anything.
You have noticed how teachers, critics, parents and other know-it-alls, when they see you have written something, become at once long-nosed and finicking and go through it gingerly sniffing out the flaws. Aha! a misspelled word! as though Shakespeare could spell! As though spelling, grammar and what you learn in a book about rhetoric has anything to do with freedom and the imagination!
So often I come across articles written by critics of the very highest brow, and by other prominent writers, deploring the attempts of ordinary people to write. The critics rap us savagely on the head with their thimbles, for our nerve. No one but a virtuoso should be allowed to do it.
But this is one of the results: that all people who try to write become anxious, timid, contracted, become perfectionists, so terribly afraid that they may put something down that is not as good as Shakespeare.
And so no wonder you don’t write and put it off month after month, decade after decade. For when you write, if it is to be any good at all, you must feel free, – free and not anxious.
Yes, I hate orthodox criticism. The usual small niggling, fussy-mussy criticism, which thinks it can improve people by telling them where they are wrong, and results only in putting them in straightjackets of hesitancy and self-consciousness, and weazening all vision and bravery.
I hate it not so much on my own account, for I have learned at last not to let it balk me. But I hate it because of the potentially shining, gentle, gifted people of all ages, that it snuffs out every year. It is a murderer of talent. And because the most modest and sensitive people are the most talented, having the most imagination and sympathy, these are the very first ones to get killed off. It is the brutal egoists that survive.”
– Brenda Ueland
Today’s post began as a hunt for a video on Quantum Jumping, moved on to Dreaming and Dream Walkers, and ended up at restriction, oppression, creativity, and expression! Wow, what a glorious morning ride. I cannot wait to see what comes up in the next moment to which I attend!