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Spark: How Creativity Works by Julie…
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Spark: How Creativity Works (2011)

by Julie Burstein

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Julie Burstein, producer of Studio 360, here puts to the page the creative lives of actors, painters, singers, musicians, filmmakers, poets, sculptors, writers & a landscape designer who have appeared on that public radio show. While many of their stories and comments are compelling (especially the ones where suffering and adversity factors on their creative output), the book is written in the 3rd person, so some of the immediacy is lost. Also, far too many of the artists went to Yale or Harvard or Princeton, or had parents who actively promoted their talent when they were children, or led privileged lives. So their methods for creative achievement aren't the full story. To put it more bluntly, where's the hope for a poor girl like me? ( )
  deckla | Apr 5, 2016 |
essays
11/11 ( )
  aletheia21 | Dec 4, 2011 |
Spark: How Creativity Works is a collection of biographical backstories about creative people -- 35 writers, artists, architects, musicians and filmmakers -- adapted from interviews that were broadcast during the first ten years of WNYC’s Studio 360 radio program.

They remind me of the introductory material in each of The Paris Review interviews. But here that's their entirety -- the background experiences that inspired artists' creative and occupational interests or a specific project. Only occasionally do they continue into creative processes, and never into the “how creativity works” of the subtitle. Burstein's writing is smooth and informative, but flat. It's interesting -- in an introduction to one section, she writes: “It was my tenth birthday; the package at the bottom of the stack of presents looked like it just contained a couple of books, so I opened it last.” Turns out it wasn’t books but rather a tape recorder, which she fell in love with and went on to a career in radio. Maybe the flatness here is a holdover from that “it's just books” mindset, or that live radio doesn’t translate well to print? I was interested but never engaged.

(Review based on an advance reading copy provided by the publisher.) ( )
2 vote DetailMuse | Mar 14, 2011 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0061732311, Hardcover)

How did Richard Ford's cat influence his work as a novelist? HOW is Chuck Close's portraiture driven by his inability to remember faces? What pivotal moment helped Rosanne Cash understand the healing power of the stage?

Creativity is an elusive subject. We enjoy its fruits—movies, novels, paintings, songs—but rarely are we privy to what happens in the creative process. In Spark, Julie Burstein traces the roots of some of the twenty-first century's most influential and creative thinkers, including Joyce Carol Oates, Yo-Yo Ma, David Milch, Isabel Allende, and Joshua Redman. Burstein pulls back the curtain to reveal the sources of these artists' inspiration and the processes that bring their work into being.

"These artists may not change lead into gold," Burstein writes, "but they lift materials from their familiar contexts, combining, reshaping, transforming them into works of art that change the way we see the world." Spark is an invaluable resource for the aspiring writer and artist, but the need for creativity extends well beyond the world of paintbrushes and typewriters. Creativity is integral to business, parenting, education, science, and, perhaps most poignantly, our personal relationships. Rarely do books on creativity illuminate and inspire; this marvelous volume will help you find a spark of your own.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:09:13 -0400)

How did Richard Ford's cat influence his work as a novelist? How is Chuck Close's portraiture driven by his inability to remember faces? What pivotal moment helped Rosanne Cash understand the healing power of the stage? Creativity is an elusive subject. We enjoy its fruits--movies, novels, paintings, songs--but rarely are we privy to what happens in the creative process. In Spark, journalist Julie Burstein traces the roots of some of the twenty-first century's most influential and creative thinkers, including Joyce Carol Oates, Yo-Yo Ma, David Milch, Isabel Allende, and Joshua Redman. Burstein pulls back the curtain to reveal the sources of these artists' inspiration and the processes that bring their work into being. "These artists may not change lead into gold," Burstein writes, "but they lift materials from their familiar contexts, combining, reshaping, transforming them into works of art that change the way we see the world."--From publisher description.… (more)

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