Soul Writer

I caught a glimpse of Mel Brooks talking on Andrew Denton’s Enough Rope. I loved what he had to say about authentic expression and writing from your soul.

ANDREW DENTON: … you made a very interesting comment once where, just almost in brackets, you said, ‘fame the enemy’. What does having a huge hit like that do to your work, do to your career?

MEL BROOKS: First of all two things. One, unconsciously you get lazy, you feel, well, it’s like you’ve climbed somewhere and you’ve hit a plateau. So you say well, I’ll sit down, I’m famous so I don’t have to worry about it, which is very bad for creative people. Creative people should always be striving, they should always be hungry, they should be looking for the next place to go. And secondly, the terrible thing is that the audience, it stops you from experimenting because the audience gets jaded, they want a hit, they want a big success, and so you don’t want to experiment because you say, well, I’ll disappoint the audience, they may not like it, I better do something that I think is more commercial. And nobody knows, no creative writer knows what is commercial and what isn’t. You just write from your heart, you write from the deepest, creative urges in you, and you write from your soul, and you just either get lucky or not.

When we use social media and engage in social networks we are more aware of our potential “audience” than ever before. Do you stick with a formula, based on what you suppose people might like to read? I like the notion of writing from your soul, being authentic in what we say and seeking a pure, fun kind of creative ethic. Do you?

a coloured glass ball
Photo by Okavanga Delta

5 thoughts on “Soul Writer

  1. Ric

    One of the benefits of blogging (to my mind) is that freedom to express yourself as you please (which is not always attractive of course, but it is the freedom afforded you) – I wonder if the so-called A-listers feel the same pressure that Brooks referred to?

    I didn’t catch all of that interview, and of course missed the best bit (!) – but I’m not sure writing that ISN’T from the soul has much value …

    Nice “abbreviation” for your two-word title, BTW …

  2. ringlerun

    ww, you have captured the essence of authenticity. i wonder though if sometimes, we need to “seep” the soul. for example, i have recently taken up the hobby of taking photographs… very occassionally, i’m not in the mood for photography, but drive myself to do it anyway (not always, but i know when its time for a real “creative silence” moment and when i’m being lazy) – but i force myself to take some pictures anyway, and i find that the result is often not as good as when i am doing it out of pure passion and being genuine about the photos. However, sometimes, performing the ritual of going out and taking a few initial shots, gets me into the passionate frame of mind again. Could it be possible, that even if someone is not writing from the soul, it could still be good for them to get them “into the mood” – the difference of course is, the quality of the result will differ and not writing from the soul probably needs not be shared?

  3. wonderwebby

    Ric, agree and it’s probably the reason some people find it difficult to blog. You are revealing your soul a little – are you confident enough to share that part of yourself with the world? It can be a huge step for some people. In fact, when I think about my favourite blogs, many of them have an authentic voice.
    Ringlerun, I think sharing from the soul takes a whole lot of practice! And there will be days when our guard is up, moments of navel-gazing etc. As for sharing those moments – well I guess if it is a step in confidence, towards authentic expression it’s probably a good thing. You have to start somewhere and sometimes a little encouragement from others for the small things can lead to people doing great things!

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