Help me write this blurb about creativity…

As some of you may know, I am editing my college’s literary magazine (in fact, I’m the only student worker.) On the back page I want to have a little dedication “blahblah art is good blahblah thanks for submitting.” etc.

I’m having a bitch of a time writing it – who knew half-a-dozen sentences would be so damned difficult? Plus my brain is still fried from finals last week and a semester of 22 credits before that, so I’ve lost the ability to tell whether or not what I’m writing is any good. I’ve written up a draft, and I need yous guyses help to make it more gooder. Please, please help.

Here’s what I’ve got so far:

“What really counts is to strip the soul naked. Painting or poetry is made as we make love; a total embrace, prudence thrown to the wind, nothing held back.” – Joan Miro

The creative impulse is a passionate response to life, so intense that we are compelled to commemorate it by creating something beautiful. Inspiration is contagious; it is a germ in the air we breathe. The more beauty there is in the world, the more we will be inspired to create more beauty. Whether you write, paint, dance, or whatever, art enriches our own lives and the lives of those around us.

My thanks to everyone who submitted to Mosaic, and to all the creative souls out there. You help to make Northland joyful and beautiful; keep up the good work.

This is what I think of it:

I really like the quote. If all else fails, I might ditch everything else and just have to quote.

The first sentence is about as graceful as trying to waltz with a live duck in your pants. Believe it or not, this is the best of the twenty-hundred-thousand versions I’ve written. What I’m trying to say is that the desire to make art comes from an intense love and appreciation for the beauty around us, and so you’re compelled to make your own beauty as a kind of dedication. I honestly believe that all art originates from some kind of beauty, but I also realize that my personal definition of “beauty” is wildly different than most peoples, so I’m having mucho difficulty wording this sentence in a coherent yet poetic form. I need the most help with this sentence.

I dig the second sentence. It’s not terribly original, but I think it’s clever as hell. But I’m not sure how many people will get the etymologic connection between “inspiration” and “breathe”…

Sentence #3: Uhg. Too much “beauty.” This sentence isn’t terribly graceful, either.

Sentence #4: I hate the word “whatever” with the proverbial fire of a thousand suns.

Sentences #5 & #6: I’m okay with these. Except that I used the “beautiful” word again. Somebody give me a good synonym.

Overall: Does this have any flow at all? It makes a vague kind of sense in my head, but I’m too brain-dead at the moment to know whether or not this comes out.

Any and all feedback is appreciated. Be honest; be brutal.

Thanks loads.

  1. If you don’t like “whatever,” then chop off the first half of that sentence and start with “art.”

  2. Is “germ” really the best word to describe inspiration? How about " … it is in the air we breathe"?

  3. I’d like more instances of the word “naked.”

  4. Also, “breasts.”

Chew on this:

Anybody having trouble with the disturbing irony of quoting somebody else’s ideas about the impulsiveness of creativity?

Just me?


Wow. Super-extra-bonus points to you, Bryan, for your ambition. But I have a few philosophical issues with your post.

I’d rather not invoke that kind of schism between science and art – to say that science is all nature and art is all soul. Northland is an environmental liberal arts school with a really strong emphasis in the natural sciences, but the student body also possesses huge amounts of creativity. Art and science – at least at Northland – are merely different approaches of the same goal of understanding the world and our place in it.

(Your post also seems to be promoting a kind of art-for-art’s-sake, something separate from the outside world. I’d rather imply that there is a direct relationship between natural creation and artistic creation.)

And besides, I got really excellent submissions from Bio majors as well as Writing majors, and I don’t want anyone to feel slighted.

Also, I’m uncomfortable with the word “masterpiece”; I don’t want to build some kind of talent hierarchy. There’s a lot of stuff that was sent in that’s not getting published, and I feel kinda bad about that. I don’t want these people to stop making art, or to think that they aren’t capable of masterpieces or that the pinnacle of all art is the museum masterpiece. What I’d rather do is encourage a creative lifestyle in which making art – adding beauty to the world – is as natural as breath and heartbeats.

There’s another quote I like: “The universe is full of magical things patiently waiting for out wits to grow sharper.” (Eden Phillpotts) Personally, I find that reading poetry or going to galleries, etc., helps my “wit to grow sharper.” Appreciating artistic creation makes me more inclined to appreciate natural creation, which inspires me to artistic creation, etc. I’m trying to express that cycle, and to impress upon people how beautiful life could be if we made all the art we dreamed of and took notice of the world around us.

But, now, the more I think about this, the more I wonder if this viewpoint is something that’s unique to Northland or even to me personally…
Snooooopy: Well, “germ” matches “contagious” but you make a good point. I maybe don’t spend enough time in the postmodern world that I didn’t consider the negative connotations of “germ.” I’ve seen it used a lot in older literature as a kind of synonym for seed or embryo – as something small and imperceptable which will grow to impressive proportions – and that’s what I was thinking.

Ethilrist: Yeah, and how 'bout the pathetic sadness of an Art-major-Writing-minor-who-just-took-a-class-called-The-Creative-Process asking for help writing a paragraph on creativity…? ::sigh::

Possibly, but your original question makes no mention of science, so you left out crucial information. I’m not sure mentioning “science” once can rightly be called schism-invoking. Actually, if I had submitted a scholarly scientific article and then saw the blurb talking about “magical things” and “[stripping] the soul naked”… well, I doubt I’d be offended, but a rolling of the eyes would be in order.

I dunno, I thought my “we can never let it die or we risk dying ourselves” invested more value in art than simple esthetics.

Wow, you want to cover all the bases in a blurb? Good luck!

“Natural as breath and heartbeats” is a nice turn of phrase and I suggest you find a way to use it, but you shouldn’t be afraid of making subjective judgements. If you want to keep everything as inoffensive as possible, you may as well support a 24-hour Barney cable channel.

Well, that’s Liberal Arts for ya. No connection to the real world.

Bryan: No, I didn’t make any mention of the feel of Northland in my first post, and maybe I should’ve.

And, no, making one mention of science is not necessarily schism invoking, I just feel uncomfortable saying that science only deals with “the (physical) world” and art only deals with “the soul.”

I didn’t make mention of science in my original blurb because I’m not trying to cover all the bases. There are volumes and volumes and volumes that could be written about creativity and curiosity in art and science. I’m not even trying to condense all of that into one paragraph. All I want for the dedication is a couple flowery non-exclusive sentences that says, “You guys rock. Thanks for submitting and keep up the good work.”

I’m not afraid of making subjective judgments – I’ve already been doing that; I’m only publishing maybe 1/4 to 1/3 of what was sent in – but the dedication page is not the place for me to do that. There are people who submitted who aren’t getting published, and people who didn’t submit that I know are amazingly talented and creative, and I want to say that regardless of all that, art=good, and they should all keep on being their awesome creative selves.

If you’d like to debate the nature of creativity, open another thread. What I’m looking for here is just some writery feedback on what I’ve written and suggestions on how it could be written better.

:rolleyes: yes. Thank you for insulting my education. Really appreciate that.

Hey, you were the one begging for honesty and brutality. But getting to a specific critique of your original blurb:

No problem, but this (rather bohemian) quote by itself doesn’t really embrace science. If you don’t want to risk alientating any of your science writers, I suggest adding a second quote that appeals to them.

Not all art is beautiful, but that doesn’t make it less artful. Actually, I’d be mildly surprised if you could get a bunch of submissions from the students of a Liberal Arts college (or any other college, for that matter) and not get some that are bleak and minimalist. And if your “personal definition of ‘beauty’ is wildly different than most peoples”, you definitely should be careful in its use. Overall in your draft, the words 'beauty" and “beautiful” are wildly over-used, but you knew this already.

Yes, that “whatever” (yuck) has to go. This whole paragraph has problems, actually. Rather than expressing art as an contagion, which is an odd metaphor at best, try something along the lines of a waterfall or cascade.

Overall, the words 'beauty" and “beautiful” are really over-used, but you knew this already. I’d try amalgamating the first two sentences into “My thanks to all the creative souls out there who submitted to Mosaic.” “Keep up the good work” is a cliché, as though your readers were boy scouts or the seven dwarves or something.