Age and maturity can bring a new level of passion, ability and insight for creative expression. There are many examples of people making significant creative projects in middle age and beyond.
[From my article Maturity and Creativity.]
A new Psychology Today magazine article highlights a number of people who make contributions to the arts and sciences as gifted adults later in life.
Writer Julia Glass describes some of her creative journey and challenges – here is an excerpt from the article :
Unlikely roadblocks to success
Winning a creative writing award in sixth grade and graduating summa cum laude from Yale certainly don’t sound like roadblocks to success. But for Julia Glass, winner at age 46 of the 2002 National Book Award for her debut novel, Three Junes, they may have been.
“Being a good student means living life by the book, in the least creative sense,” says Glass.
Turned off by the way literature was taught in college—through the philosophy of criticism—she became a studio art major and tried to pursue an art career for the next decade.
The turn in the road
When she finally realized that she was a word person and writing was what she was meant to do, “it was like suddenly looking at a friend you’ve had for your whole life and realizing this is the person you want to marry,” Glass says.
At age 29, she decided to give writing a go. It was tough at first, taking seven years before any of her short stories got published in even a minor magazine. “Most of my peers were well-launched in solid careers when I was taking baby steps in what would ultimately be mine,” she recalls.
Once she decided to tackle a novel, things were no easier. Working without a book contract or a steady income, she wrote Three Junes in isolation, sharing her writing with no one, not even her mate.
“Keeping it close to my chest meant that it stayed in a sort of dream realm, which was important to staying inspired,” she says.
She sent Three Junes to seven or eight publishers simultaneously, and all but one rejected it. Fortunately, it takes only one.
Glass attributes her eventual success to stubbornness. “A trio of misfortunes in my mid-30s—divorce, cancer, the death of my only sibling—did call on me, like it or not, to be resilient.” It was a hole, she said, she had “to crawl out of with my bare hands. Lots of sorrow and hardly any money.”
Her National Book Award is dedicated to “everybody who blooms late in life, whether you’re a writer or anything else because you never, never know.”
From Better Late Than Never, by Scott Barry Kaufman Ph.D., Psychology Today.
Related article: Early and late bloomers – by Robert Genn
Examples of late bloomers
In his article Late Bloomers – Why do we equate genius with precocity?, Malcolm Gladwell notes, “Genius, in the popular conception, is inextricably tied up with precocity—doing something truly creative, we’re inclined to think, requires the freshness and exuberance and energy of youth. Orson Welles made his masterpiece, ‘Citizen Kane,’ at twenty-five. Herman Melville wrote a book a year through his late twenties, culminating, at age thirty-two, with ‘Moby-Dick.'”
But Gladwell cites a study by economist David Galenson in which he polled “a broad cross-section of literary scholars about which eleven poems they felt were the most important in the American canon.
“Those eleven were composed at the ages of twenty-three, forty-one, forty-eight, forty, twenty-nine, thirty, thirty, twenty-eight, thirty-eight, forty-two, and fifty-nine.”
“There is no evidence, Galenson concluded, for the notion that lyric poetry is a young person’s game.”
late bloomers, creativity and maturity,creative expression, gifted adults
Article publié pour la première fois le 21/01/2009