Another Great Article on The Origins & Practice of Creativity

English: The New York Times building in New Yo...

English: The New York Times building in New York, NY across from the Port Authority. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today’s New York Times front page yielded a lot of really sad news, but nestled comfortably mid-page there was a really interesting, curiously uplifting article by one of the Times’s art critics on why he began to write in the first place.  Reading this piece, I saw a lot of familiar scenes.  I am sure that we are worlds, perhaps also generations, apart in many ways but the scene he paints early in the article, I could have torn from the pages of my childhood as well:

“Then there was reading, a lot.  Typical scene: Four people — my young father and mother, my sister and I — in different parts of the house, glued to the page late into the night.  Many books around, on shelves, on desks, on chairs, an environment I duplicate wherever I live.”

There are differences, of course.  There always are.  Holland Cotter had a sister, I had a brother.  His father was a medical doctor, mine has a PhD.  His parents allowed him to wander freely through museums because they used the museums as a sort of “surrogate nanny” (his words). Our family went to museums together, more as a family outing.  Still his description of being seized by the aesthetics and the obvious stories of the Pre-Modern art initially and then gradually beginning to read the descriptions because he needed to know more, until finally he took notes on what he saw, all of that seems very familiar.  I did a lot of that too and do still.  I also write a lot, though perhaps (not yet) as well, and certainly not for as well-known an outfit as the New York Times, but still, the similarities were startling.

At any rate, the entire piece is definitely worth a read if you have the time.  It’s today’s paper, page A1, “Finding Poetry on the Page and, Later, on the Canvas,” by Holland Cotter, for the Critic’s Notebook.



  1. August 15, 2013 at 2:32 pm

    Hi Again, Jim,
    I’m glad you posted this article, since I had seen it in the NYT today but had passed on reading it. Your post is interesting, and you clearly link your views to that of the author. Of course, I can’t identify with the “art history” approach in Cotter’s article, but I do get the link to creativity. I’m not sure that historians can really claim to be “creative,” though. It’s more like: we do the research; organize what we’ve found; then “translate” it into workman-like (even boilerplate!) prose. Ah, well, we can’t all be Holland Cotter. . . .

  2. May 12, 2014 at 2:01 pm

    […] Another Great Article On The Origins and Practice of Creativity […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: