Monday, September 22, 2008

Salman Rushdie on Creativity

[22 September 2008 - By Steven Dahlberg - Reporting from the Global Creative Leadership Summit - New York, New York] Toward the end of a lunch conversation that just wrapped up between author Sir Salman Rushdie and Harvard's Homi Bhabha, a Russian audience member asked Sir Rushdie what his "theory of creativity" is. His response:
"I wish I had a theory of it. It's very hard to do. I don't know where it comes from. My experience of it is very chaotic; not ordered and disciplined."
Sir Rushdie went on to say that he just sits down and writes. The next day, he looks at what he wrote and much of it is garbage. Through the process of exploration of garbage, he said, you find yourself paying attention to things that are sticking around -- and eventually you have a book.

As a writer, Sir Rushdie said you "look at the world in which you live and respond to it." Of his approach to writing: "I go to the edges of the possible and push outwards."

He said the problem of being in the business of writing books for so long is that you "have to keep coming up with stuff to write about." When asked whether he feels like he's done enough short stories, he said, "no," adding that he may do more of them.

Finally, commenting about the topic of "human security" and his own experience of living a threatened life, he said: "There is no such thing as security -- only levels of insecurity." If one accepts that, he said, you can learn to function again.

1 comment:

  1. I'm just reading Midnight's Children so it's interesting to hear his views on creativity at this time. If you haven't read it be prepared to spend many evenings or plane flights! Not too surprised his approach is "organic". If you read his books it would be hard to conclude otherwise. Thanks for posting on Rusdie and the conference!