I’ve been reading The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life by Twyla Tharp the past couple of days. I’m becoming more and more fascinated by the process creative people use to create. I’ve been thinking that this process (and it does seem to be a process, not anything more mysterious than that) would be something that someone like me would want to learn more about.
In chapter 6, she talks a lot about the concept of “scratching”. What she means by this, I think, is the propensity creative people have to follow the white rabbit down the hole and see where it leads. I talked a little bit about this in the essay I posted called “A letter to my son“. I quoted Paul Graham, who, when talking about the mathematician G.H. Hardy, said “only later did he start to ask questions instead of merely answering them correctly” (emphasis mine).
That seems to be one of the keys to creativity, and one area where I find myself falling quite short. I always did very well in school, and have conditioned myself to answer questions, instead of asking them. I’m looking to develop the inquisitive mind and the child-like wonder that I find myself lacking. Once I start asking those questions, when I start to “scratch” through the first source I read and move on to more and more sources in an effort to satiate my appetite for answers, then I’ll know I’m becoming more of a creative type.