Sunday, July 12, 2009

Blog Book Tour: Tom

Tom asks:

Her Quinness,On my blog I often discuss matters related to a person's creative side. Many people who are gifted with strong creative talents often deny these talents by saying "That's just playing around," or "That's not really important," or "I'm not *really* all that good at that, so why try?" This is often tied with fears related to the outcomes that may occur if creativity is pursued.In your experience, has there ever been a time when you denied the creative side of yourself, and if so, how did you come to reconcile those feelings and move forward? Involving your creativity at this point in life, do you have negative feelings regarding the results of your efforts, and how do you deal with them?

To me, these are the same question. Growing up in a city where everyone views themselves as an artist, working on their craft, polishing their tool (that one never fails to make me snicker), I had to be perverse and say things like "I'm a hack. I acted because someone paid me to act. Actually, as a child actor, what I did was more like imitating behavior with pancake makeup on." Because the only way I would going to use the word "Tool" about me and acting would be to say "Talking about acting makes me feel like a tool." And I fell out of love with acting. Did I stop loving it because I never treated it respectfully? Who can say; I have no Control Quinn who behaved otherwise. But it can't have helped.

So now writing. I can tell you all the people I'm not. I'm not Anne Lamott, and I'm not David Sedaris and if someone ever said "You're a writer, like Joan Didion is a writer," I'd scream hotly "No, I write extended emails to some unknown friend and Joan Didion is a writing god." But I am trying to treat my writing a little more gently than I treated my acting. Maybe I'm actually getting a little wiser as I get older? That's the payoff for the way my eyelids have been looking in the morning lately.

Lastly, what's the most creative way you have ever come up with to prepare toast? And, if you had any negative feelings after completing your masterpiece, did it help to have some lap-tea?

That's the magical thing about toast. You can't really get creative, unless your toaster has a slightly sticky arm and you have learned that at the ninety-second mark you have to start jiggling it. Toast requires low consistent heat for a period of time and then you get toast. I am terribly, sadly indifferent to food, but listen in awe to cooking shows where people rhapsodize about just knowing the marjoram and new peapods in the Farmer's Market would go perfectly with the bok choy and lamb they had at home. In that second, they spent more time thinking about a meal than I did all last month. Pity my child all you want for what must be an endless series of uninspired meals, but I am tone-deaf when it comes to creativity and food, leaving me with the endless nagging sorrow that whatever I made could probably be much better. Toast, being completely unimproved by creativity, wins my heart.


Anonymous --Deb said...

Seriously, though, why would you want to be a writer "like" Joan Didion, or anybody else? She/they may be wonderful writers, but she's not YOU, and why would you want to write like anybody other than yourself? The trick is to write like your very best self.

6:25 PM  
Anonymous spleeness said...

I absolutely LOVE this post. Everything you've said. About writing, and omg about food. Someone finally summed up my entire outlook on food. Sadly, enjoyment of eating is about as far as I get. But now I know I'm not alone!

4:00 PM  
Anonymous spleeness said...

Oops. What's Tom's URL? I want to check out his blog on creativity. I like his question.

4:01 PM  
Anonymous Tom said...

I completely forgot to check back on the answers to this, because I honestly thought it wouldn't happen, and here it is! How cool!

I find it ironic that you mention the "sticky arm" on the toaster thing. I have an amazing-looking 50s Sunbeam toaster that's all chrome and bakelite (or just black plastic, I guess) that works wonderfully as long as you remember that the temp control does absolutely nothing, and the only way to get it to toast anything lighter than charcoal is to stand there, look down in it, and pull the cord out of the wall when it looks done. This is exactly what I do when I make toast at my house, so maybe I'm creative with toast. I put persimmon butter on it last time I made it, which is less than normal, so maybe that was a little creative as well, but I'll thank Jim for the homemade persimmon butter.

Any rate, thanks so much for answering my questions, Quinn! I do love your blog. Always good reading.

My URL should be clickable in my name above if I'm doing this right??? Thanks for the interest, spleeness.

10:34 PM  

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