creativity and possibility

For a creative person, what could be is as tangible, if not more real than what is. A piece of music is not simply what it is but is a collection of moments of possibility.  In each moment what happens next appears as both what actually happens and what could have happened. This is what makes music alive.

A painting is full of choices. The best paintings are the ones where the “could have beens” have been paired away until what is left is what seems to be the only right choice. Without the possibilities that weren’t right being noticeably absent, those paintings wouldn’t be as good.

Songs that are overloaded with ideas/notes quickly become monotonous. Songs that have an economy of ideas leave space for imagination and so are more engaging.

And yet, what is more fascinating than music or any other art that seems complete exactly the way it is?

2 thoughts on “creativity and possibility”

  1. Your comments on the nature of a creative person make a lot of sense to me. That is exactly what defines that attribute. And I love the whole paragraph about paintings. What simple, well-thought-out, and clarifying ideas! Could you cite possible influences for these ideas? I need a new book to read 🙂

    1. You might like the liner notes for Miles Davis’ “Kind of Blue” see Also see the book Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. It s the best book I’ve found on creativity. As for the sources leading to that paragraph, that’s a tough one. that notion comes from numerous external directions plus my own reflecting on what it means to listen to music from the creative standpoint (that is, listening to understand the process of creative choice.). The idea that what you don’t include is as important as what you do in a painting is an idea that virtually every artist has heard and wrestled with.

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