Creativity: Conversations with 28 who Excel

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Susan Charlotte, Tom Ferguson, Bruce Felton
Momentum Books, 1993 - Art - 413 pages
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"When I see a great short-order cook with grace and great economy of gesture", Gloria Steinem says in these pages, "I think that's taking a human endeavor to its peak". Others interviewed here offer less encompassing parameters to define the boundaries of creativity. CREATIVITY: Conversations with 28 Who Excel, however, does not resolve philosophical questions such as "What is creativity?" or "Who is an artist and how did they get that way?" Instead, acclaimed achievers from a remarkable spectrum of disciplines offer invaluable glimpses into private creative cauldrons. Their lessons and insights allow the reader to synthesize his or her own answers to the big questions. Or better yet, simply to enjoy. Here, for example, is screenwriter Frank Pierson explaining why he almost killed the classic line "What we have here is a failure to communicate" from his Cool Hand Luke script: "I looked at it and said, 'Oh shit, that's good.' But then my next thought was, 'This redneck can't say that.'" Or actor E. G. Marshall explaining how he disagreed with Woody Allen's direction in one Interiors scene: "But I did it his way because it was his idea. Ironically, it turned out that Ingmar Bergman praised that scene and praised me for doing it that way. That's why I always say I shouldn't put myself into the part. I should put the part into myself". Other masters from fields traditionally labeled as creative - literature, visual arts, music - give the reader similar views inside their professional lives. No businessmen or doctors are on the roster, but a renowned attorney reveals why preparing for the courtroom is like writing a play. A master chef illustrates how the astute gourmet's aesthetic judgmentis clouded by childhood experiences at the dinner table. And a Hall of Fame baseball announcer suggests that a Southern tradition of storytelling helped him become a painter of vivid word pictures for millions of radio listeners. CREATIVITY is a learning experience but it is not a textbook. It is an anthology of conversations we all would like to have if we were scheduling a thoughtful chat this afternoon with, say, Grant Tinker or Ntozake Shange or Dutch Leonard or Philip Glass or Morgan Freeman. Bring a picnic basket and get comfortable. You'll want to linger and listen.

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About the author (1993)

Award-winning writer and editor Bruce Felton has written for numerous magazines, contributed to "The People's Almanac" and "The Book of Lists, "served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Borneo, and placed 24,926th in the 1992 NYC Marathon. He is the author of four books, including "Famous Americans You Never Knew Existed" and "One of a Kind: A Compendium of Unique People, Places, and Things. "Always on the lookout for the absurd, Felton resides in his hometown of New York City.

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