Oklahoma - DVD CoverWhew, I’ve been out of the loop for a couple of weeks.  First our power was out here in DC and we were part of the mass exodus north; ended up spending a couple of days with friends.  And then the following weekend, my work has kept me relentlessly travelling.  Although I will say, I really rather enjoyed Oklahoma (hence the photo).

So, today’s video is from Elizabeth Gilbert and for those of you scratching your heads and wondering, “Who is Elizabeth Gilbert?” I shall mock you and tell you to look up, “Eat, Pray, Love.”   Regarding today’s video – from the description on the TED talks site:  “Eat, Pray, Love” author, Elizabeth Gilbert, muses on the impossible things we expect from artists and geniuses — and shares the radical idea that, instead of the rare person “being” a genius, all of us “have” a genius. It’s a funny, personal and surprisingly moving talk.”

The part I really like best is how she opens with the idea of creativity and suffering and how when it comes to creative endeavors we’re warned away.  We’re told horror stories of how we will, “die on a scrapheap of broken dreams with your mouth filled with bitter ash of failure.”  I love the line below and it really made me think:

Is it rational, is it logical that anybody should be expected to be afraid of what they feel they were put on this earth to do?  

No one ever asked her dad if he was afraid to be a chemical engineer.  She taps into these fears that we are fed, along with the ideas that we’ve heard so often and for so long and that we’ve intenalized (artist and public both) that “creativity is connected to suffering. Artistry will lead to anguish” and then challenges us to examine those assumptions and ask if we’re really comfortable with that.  Gilbert goes on to look at a variety of views on creativity, genius, that spark that makes people light from within and makes the parallel with being touched by Divinity.

About the author

DayAlMohamed Day Al-Mohamed is author of the Young Adult novel, “Baba Ali and the Clockwork Djinn.” She is also co-editor for the anthology, “Trust & Treachery” from Dark Quest Books. In addition to speculative fiction, she also writes comics and film scripts. She is an active member of the Cat Vacuuming Society of Northern Virginia Writing Group, of Women in Film and Video, and a graduate of the VONA/Voices Writing Workshop.