Here is the question:

You are a prolific composer (At least it seems that way to me). Do you believe that it is the case that being creative makes a person more so? Or, is a person just intrinsically creative? i.e., Is creativity like a muscle that grows stronger if used, or is it something that one just has like synthesia?

Do you get “writers block?” How do you escape it?, or do you embrace it?

And here is my answer:

Creativity is, in part, a muscle that needs to be engaged and toned. A photographer sees shapes and is aware of the light 24/7 or s/he is not a photographer. A musician hears sounds and rhythms 24/7 or s/he is not a musician. I imagine a writer hears dialog everywhere s/he goes. If you want to be a painter, start looking. You want to be a musician, start hearing.

I think one part of creativity is associative power, the ability to create mental links between ideas and sensory input, thought and reality. Cross-linking what we experience with how we feel and how we view the world. A personal network of external and internal information.

The best ideas have been described at happy accidents, neurons jumping track and colliding with other, seemingly unrelated neurons waiting on another track. A microscopic game of boules. I think that can be trained. (((and I do believe that the odds are improved in people who speak more than one language as they look at the world in a less fixed way)))

You describe nature versus nurture and I have always thought that both are equally important. Talent is not everything! There are people who are supremely talented (((scale is weighted on the nature-side))), who don’t know how to hustle and practice and work (((nurture))). We need both in order to create, talent and practice! And, the more we do something, the better we become at doing that – true for everything we do, isn’t it?

Jon and I recently talked about nature versus nurture in terms of the brain and aging. One person’s body seems old at 45 and another appears fit at 75. The same is true for minds. One person thinks old at 45 and another thinks young at 75. It seems that aging is a combination of genetic pre-disposition (((nature))) AND how we use our brain (((nurture))). Use it or lose it.

I think most every child is naturally creative, but schools seem to be trying hard to ruin them as quickly as possible, but that’s another subject.

Yes, I have had writer’s block. I have been scared of never writing another piece of music. And then, as soon as I forgot that I thought that – I wrote another song. I figure, I have to keep the machine in good shape by practicing and playing guitar, and eventually the music writes itself. I can’t remember HOW I wrote most of my music! It was just suddenly there. Sure, I might have been working on a particular sound-puzzle for hours, even days, but then came the moment when it became obvious what to do. Music, or so it seems, writes itself. Or at least that’s how it seems looking back.