Inspiration & Invention

I met a man who refused to read Keith Johnstone‘s amazing book, Impro. It’s a stunning book – my new bible, a discovery I rave about, which half the theatrical world grew up with (I say half; I mean actors more than anyone else.) I can’t recommend it enough, so that’s ’nuff said on that.

So. This man. Who refused. Because? Because he wants to keep his own ideas untainted. Keith Johnstone (I suspect) could not have agreed more. This man – a painter, film maker, composer and general “maker” of art, who calls himself a scientist more than an artist – seems to me to be on a life-long exploration of the human brain’s capacity for magnificent, artistic output. He calls it invention, rather than creation.

We talked synaesthesia and scrying and how they feature in the work of Farraday, Edison and Einstein – I meant to mention Dali’s dozing off with his hand over a bowl of water (he falls asleep, the hand falls in, it wakes him and he would quickly access his semi-conscious sleep-mind and draw whatever he had seen), but forgot. I threw in Johnstone’s last chapter on mask work and we both got gleeful about how important it is to surrender responsibility for your story or your invention; your “character” edifice, in which you have so much invested, will hold you back from being genuinely inventive / creative.

The silly thing is, we met at my much-loved father-in-law’s funeral. It was a coming-together of so many interesting people. He’d have loved to listen to the conversations. So: two personal lessons came from this: (1) have more parties with good people and (2) share what you find, as I am here. Any thoughts, please do leave them below for others.

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