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Amy Tan: Where does creativity hide?
Uses personal stories, humour in her presentation, and anecdotes.
“The value of nothing, out of nothing comes something”
Only talking about her own creative process – nature, nurture, nightmares.
Nature –brain science causes muse effect, spiritually born with it, past lives, psychosis or depression
Nurture – who am I? Why am I this particular person? Got a B- in English, not predictive
Childhood trauma, when 14 brother and Father died of brain tumours. Mother looked at fate,
curses, everything except randomness. Near-death is good for creativity: Thinking death is near leads
to questions – Why do things happen? How do things happen? How do I make things happen? Writing a story can explore these issues, but there a lot of drafts
Creativity – inability to stop looking at associations
Quantum Mechanics – Dark Energy and Dark Matter (what is missing) – synenergy and what
matters, Uncertainty Principle – I’m not original, I’m a fraud, people will think that’s me, Observer
Effect – Look for what the story is about, but not just writing about the “about”
Ambiguity – very uncomfortable, moral ambiguity
Iraq - “Save a man from drowning, you are responsible to him for life” – don’t get involved
“Saving fish from drowning” – Buddhism fisherman
Intentions – ambiguity, something things go wrong, what do we do then?
Clues, Hints that have always been there, but the focus makes them relevant - serendipity
“Why am I here?” “We hate moral ambiguity but we need it.”
Opened book at random page that was exactly what she needed. Why is random? Why is luck? What
do you get from the universe?
“With everything in life there is a place of balance.”
Is it serendipity or is it the filter?
Has to be there in the story, and have to identify with the characters and beliefs.
Ceremony by Feng shui master to send some men down to the underworld on ghost horses
By thinking about fate and luck, by thinking about herself, and becoming what is imagined
Uncertainty is a good thing, because that leads to new discoveries
Feeling in one story and imagination leads to compassion.