In Creativity, Philippe invites the reader into his mind and attempts to dissect his creative process. For this to make any sense, you sort of have to let go of reality as you know it and step into his pipe dream world for the duration of the read. Sometimes I was able to do this and followed his twisting train of thought to some fascinating conclusions, but other times I couldn’t. So, if you pick this one up, prepare yourself. It’s not for everyone.
I marked a couple of his ideas that resonated with me:“If you are an artist, you want to create a giant wall around yourself and, inside that wall, to follow your honesty and your intuition. What the audience will see is a man or woman who is a prisoner of his or her passion, and that is the most inspiring performance in the world.” pg 16 “To be a prisoner of passion”- I’ve never heard an artist described that way before.
In pages 20 to 26, Philippe essentially describes his brainstorming process as a paper version of Pinterest (my comparison, not his). He takes all of these words and pictures and files them according to some associations that his mind makes, then reassembles the results into art… somehow. Read these pages if you want to explore how difficult it is for a creative type to write down his process in a manner that makes sense to anyone other than him or herself. It’s interesting but baffling.
“Another theory of mine: turning in circles and getting lost is important! You find yourself when you get lost.” pg 28 I embrace that theory as well.
“Go to school if you want to learn. Go to life if you want to feel.” pg 85 Loved that.
“Use your creative paranoia to be on the lookout for negativity; observe with a positive spirit: “What a beautiful disaster!” uttered the French architect Le Corbusier when he visited Manhattan for the first time.” pg 100
“Even if you are not a performer, even if you don’t have an act, do not think that you have nothing to rehearse! The art of living makes a performing artist out of you.” pg 122 We are all creators, painting our lives in wide strokes around us, even those of us who can’t draw a stick figure or walk on a rope between skyscrapers.
“Look in the mirror of fear and focus beyond it. What appears in the background is your path, awaiting.” pg 149 Something to keep in mind when life’s anxieties and impossibilities assail you.
Creativity: The Perfect Crime is one of a kind but if you liked it, I’d recommend reading PostSecret: Extraordinary Confessions from Ordinary Lives by Frank Warren (hundreds of people around the country decorate plain postcards with a secret that they’ve never revealed to another person- it shows the heights and depths of creativity and artistic catharsis) or How to Fly a Horse: The Secret History of Creation, Invention, and Discovery by Kevin Ashton (a more logical than emotional book about the creative process, how it works, and how everybody can create).
Speaking of Philippe Petit, did anybody else watch The Walk with Joseph Gordon-Levitt which was about his famous tight rope walk between the Twin Towers?
If you read this book first, it makes so much more sense.
Thanks for reading!