Elizabeth Gilbert, Tom Waits, and the daemon
I was watching Elizabeth Gilbert’s TED talk “A new way to think about creativity” via the New Art blog early this morning and I was fascinated by her resurrection of the concept of creative inspiration coming at least partly from an external source. In particular the story she told about Tom Waits was entertaining and enlightening. The gist of the story is that Tom Waits was driving when he was inspired by a snippet of music that started in his head. This triggered stress and angst over the possibility of losing the inspiration since he couldn’t stop and write it down. In response, he looked to the sky and exclaimed something like, “Hey, can’t you see I’m driving here. Can’t you wait for a more appropriate time? If not, just give it to someone else and stop torturing me.”
The funny and enlightening thing is that this is exactly type of situation I’m usually in when I get inspired. More often than not I lose it before I can get to where it can be captured. Studio time is often spent trying to remember and recapture the fleeting moments. It is a frustrating and often futile effort. However, just occasionally, the daemon appears and I wrestle the devil out of me and capture it in my materials (I think my song of the day captures the feel of it quite well). It is not an easy flowing for me. It is an intense, focused, and physical expulsion. It’s like fighting to catch that itch in the middle of your back. Hard to reach but it is damn satisfying when you finally scratch it.
Posted by Eric Giles