Robert McKee has been teaching creators of all kinds for most of his adult life. In a recent interview about storytelling, he offered a statement that literally paused me. (I’ve replaced his words “write” with “create” because his answer can be used for artists of all mediums.)
“Beyond imagination and insight, the most important component of talent is perseverance – the will to [create] and [recreate] in pursuit of perfection. Therefore, when inspiration sparks the desire to [create], the artist immediately asks: Is this idea so fascinating, so rich in possibility, that I want to spend months, perhaps years, of my life in pursuit of its fulfillment? Is this concept so exciting that I will get up each morning with the hunger to [create]? Will this inspiration compel me to sacrifice all of life’s other pleasures in my quest to perfect its telling? If the answer is no, find another idea. Talent and time are a [creator]’s only assets. Why give your life to an idea that’s not worth your life?”
Why give your life to an idea that’s not worth your life?
Here’s to the creators.
You may be surprised to find out that you have a lot of personal power hidden in the cracks, left unused in the spaces between things. In fact, all power resides in the space separating thought, and emotion, and in the gap between emotion and action.
For example, music isn’t in the notes you hear, but in the space between the notes. The difference between a clod and a genius on the piano is the difference in their ability to manipulate the subtle spaces between the tones.
A six year old kid plays the piano in a steady monotone—there is no rhythm and the notes come at expected intervals. She could be playing Chopin but you wouldn’t know it. The maestro at 60 years old creates art in the silence. There is a syncopation to her playing, tones are coming in and out of existence, she depresses the pedals at just the right time, creates longing in the dramatic pauses, and then fulfills you with rushes of harmony. It’s the same piece but the genius makes exquisite use of the space between the tones and this creates all the emotions the composer intended—and more.
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