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The insatiable urge to create

“The truly creative mind in any field is no more than this:
A human creature born abnormally, inhumanely sensitive. To them… a touch is a blow, a sound is a noise, a misfortune is a tragedy, a joy is an ecstasy, a friend is a lover, a lover is a god, and failure is death.

Add to this cruelly delicate organism the overpowering necessity to create, create, create — so that without the creating of music or poetry or books or buildings or something of meaning, their very breath is cut off… They must create, must pour out creation. By some strange, unknown, inward urgency they are not really alive unless they are creating.”    – Pearl S. Buck

Pearl S. Buck

Do these words ring a bell with any readers??  This drive to create can be a curse at times and creative people should try to surround themselves with people who support that. Often people who are really driven by it are percieved as extra sensitive too, as Pearl describes, as they need to fully sense and feel life with maximum emotion so they can express that experience through their chosen art. The dilemma with this is the extreme version  coming across as  utter narcissism and self absorption which actually alienates creatives from the world we find ourselves in. Cutting them off rather than embracing them.

Pearl Buck was winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1938. She had an astounding output of writing, with her most well known novel “The Good Earth“. Growing up in China her books are very accessible about life there.  I’ve read Dragon Seed which is the story of China at War, featuring a character who weaves. Very easy to read, although reading about the brutality of war always shocks me.

2 Comments Post a comment
  1. I know exactly what she means. But in my case it isn’t purely about creativity, it’s because I have bipolar disorder, which (among other things) means that, without medication, my mood is much more volatile and inclined to extremes. Small things can bring me totally up, or totally down – or stress me out entirely for no reason. With the bipolar disorder controlled (by medication), I am no less creative, but much less stressed.

    I wonder if Pearl S. Buck had bipolar disorder herself; her description certainly describes my experience nicely. Through the gift of modern medicine, though, I’m no longer creating out of desperation (to stave off the pain one day more), but out of joy. It is quite possible to be creative and calm, thank goodness!

    February 7, 2012
  2. good point that of tien’s.
    for me it’s a mere confirmation of being alive alert with all my senses.
    i live therefore i make.

    February 11, 2012

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