Tag Archives: creativity

Episode 6: Quitting (with guest Pam Houston)



“Quitter” is sometimes an insult, but in this episode we explore how quitting can be underrated. Anyone involved in a creative project has likely wondered at some point if they should suck it up and continue the fight or move on. We’ll also discuss the dangers of the sunk cost fallacy, insights from Clue, the value of a coin toss, and of course, obeying the emerging form. Then, we interview author and teacher Pam Houston, and ask her these two questions: 1) How do you know it’s time to quit? and 2) How do you distinguish between “this is hard but insights will come” from “this is hard and it can’t work”?

Episode Notes

Pam Houston

Deep Creek, by Pam Houston

Rosemerry’s poem about Clue

Christie’s posts at The Last Word on Nothing

Craig Childs on The Last Word on Nothing blog

Hannah Moshontz de la Rocha, a psychologist who studies quitting

Northwestern University study on happiness and discarding unrealistic goals

New York Times article on knowing when it is time to quit

Jessica Abel on knowing when it is time to quit


Episode 3: Existential Despair (with guest Andrea Bird)



So you’re writing. Or painting. Or dancing. And you’re struck by this horrible feeling: what am I doing? How am I ever going to find the form and create something beautiful out of this tangled mess that I’ve assembled? Or you start to feel that your work doesn’t matter. That in fact, nothing matters. Your creative endeavors amount to nothing. You are nothing. Nothing’s worth saying. No creative project’s worth doing. And that, friends, is existential despair. It happens. Most people involved in creative projects experience this state at some point, and it can be tough to get out of. In this episode, we wonder, can we avoid it? What do we miss if we avoid it? What helps us to return to a sense of purpose and passion? Our special guest, encaustic/mixed media artist Andrea Bird from Ontario, Canada, joins us for our game of two questions and talks about how that grappling can actually be what helps push our work to the next level.

Join our discussion of this episode on our Facebook page.

This is your body on existential despair … best thing to do is get away from the writing desk, into the sunshine, preferably on skis.

Episode Notes

Anna Akhmatova, Russian poet
Good to Go, Christie’s book on the science of sports recovery
A Hundred Falling Veils, Rosemerry’s daily poem blog
Andrea Bird’s gallery

 

 

 

 


Episode 2: Is Talent Necessary? (with guest Jennifer Kahn)



If you’re a poet or a painter or a musician or a dancer, you have to have talent, right? Maybe, maybe not. In this episode of Emerging Form, we explore talent. What exactly is it? How do you know if you have it? Is it necessary? Can you make up for it if you don’t have talent? Spoiler alert: the poet and the scientist do not agree on the answer to this one. As always, we’ll end with a game of Two Questions with friend of the show Jennifer Kahn, who writes for magazines like The New Yorker, Wired, and The New York Times Magazine and is an instructor at the Cal-Berkley journalism program. We’ll ask her to weigh in on whether talent is necessary, and if it’s possible to overcome lack of it in a creative field. 

Join our discussion of this episode at our Facebook group.

Picking raspberries at Christie’s farm–more like rapidly disappearing form!

Episode Notes

I Know Astrology Is Bullshit, But I Can’t Stop Reading My Horoscope by Christie Aschwanden at Last Word On Nothing.
Horoscopes by Holiday Mathis
Art and Fear: Observations on the Perils and Rewards of Artmaking by David Bayles and Ted Orland
Jennifer Kahn, UC-Berkeley


Episode 1: Introducing Emerging Form



Emerging Form is a podcast about the creative process. It’s a discussion between a poet and a science journalist, recorded over wine. Episode 1 introduces hosts Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer and Christie Aschwanden as well as the podcast’s patron saint, poet Jack Mueller. And the hosts wrestle with what it really means to be in service to the writing–to let your creative project know more than you do.

Join our discussion of this episode at our Facebook group.

Christie and Rosemerry, obeying the emerging friendship at TEDx.

Episode Notes

Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer
Christie Aschwanden
Jack Mueller,
Chill Switch Wines, Dave Aschwanden’s boutique winery

Consider the Octopus, by Colette Volkema DeNooyer

A Hundred Falling Veils, Rosemerry’s daily poems
Stop Trying to Be Creative, Christie’s story about Kenneth Stanley’s work on creativity and artificial intelligence.
Why Greatness Cannot Be Planned: The Myth of the Objective, by Kenneth Stanley
Documentary about Jack Mueller

*errata: in this episode, Rosemerry erroneously refers to Jack as a South Beach poet, but the correct name is “North Beach,” which is an old neighborhood in San Francisco and home to the iconic “City Lights Bookstore.”