Commentary: What is really driving the creative process

The Rock Hill HeraldMarch 11, 2013 

Inventor Thomas Alva Edison is quoted as saying that “genius is 1 percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration.” I make no claims to being a genius, but I’m not sure Edison took into account some of the other things that influence the creative process.

For example, here is some of what went into writing this column.

• 2 percent desperation: What the heck am I going to write about?

• 0.3 percent frustration: I have no idea.

• 0.2 percent incantation: Please, oh dark lord of the unholy art of journalism, give me an idea.

• 0.5 percent revelation: Maybe if I just keep rambling on like this, something will come to me.

• 0.3 percent Temptations: I can’t seem to get that song “Papa Was a Rolling Stone” out of my head.

• 0.2 percent hydration: I guess I’ll walk down the hall and get a Diet Pepsi. Maybe that will shake something loose.

• 0.4 percent imitation: I was walking through this yellow wood when I came to two roads and had to figure out which one to take. Naw, that won’t work.

• 0.2 percent space station: Maybe I could pretend I am weightless and explain what it’s like.

• 0.5 percent concentration: I need to focus on the task at hand so I can ... “Papa was a rolling stone. Wherever he laid his hat was his home.”

• 0.2 percent orientation: OK, let me get back to writing. Now, where was I?

• 0.5 percent determination: Alright, I’m ready to go. Let’s get cracking.

• 0.1 percent lactation: But first, maybe a bowl of ice cream might be nice.

• 0.2 percent mastication: Or maybe something crunchy like potato chips.

• 0.4 percent agitation: Quit fooling around. This is really annoying. I have to come up with something.

• 0.3 percent palpitation: I’m getting nervous now. I can feel my pulse racing.

• 0.5 percent vocation: I could lose my job!

• 0.2 percent insubordination: OK, then, I’ll just tell my boss to take this job ...

• 0.1 percent realization: No, I won’t.

• 0.3 location, location, location: If I lose my job, maybe I could sell my house and live on the proceeds. I hope it doesn’t come to that.

• 0.5 percent vacation: I wish I could get away to some tropical island where I could ...

• 0.3 percent radiation: ... lie in the sun and listen to the waves breaking on the shore.

• 0.4 percent tribulation: It’s tough, but I can get through this. I can come up with something to write about.

• 0.3 percent no taxation without representation: Maybe I could write about the American Revolution. Maybe I could even illustrate it in some way.

• 0.1 percent claymation: Maybe I could make little animated figures of redcoats and patriots and use them in a video. I could re-enact the battles of Lexington and Concord!

• 0.3 percent ostentation: But that might be overdoing it.

• 0.2 percent calculation: Wait, it looks as if this column is getting long enough all by itself, even without illustrations.

• 0.3 elation: Whoopee! I think I’m about finished.

• 0.2 ovation: I will give myself a small round of applause.

• 0.3 percent saturation: Then again, readers might be fed up with the column at this point. I wonder what they’ll think of it.

• 0.5 percent abomination.

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