Eat, Pray, Go Crazy

April 19, 2011

There’s a few podcasts I listen to semi frequently. One is a science podcast called RadioLab. The most recent full episode available on itunes is about negotiating with yourself. One segment has an interview with Liz Gilbert (who wrote Eat Pray Love) where she talks about a conversation she had with Tom Waits (back when she used to write for GQ).

She describes how he spoke about the creative process, and honestly, it just makes Tom Waits sound crazier than I’ve already heard.

He was talking about how every song has a distinctive identity that it comes into the world with and in needs to be taken in different ways.
And he said, you know, that there are songs that you have to sneak up on like you’re hunting for a rare bird. And there are songs that comes fully intact like a dream taken through a straw.
And there are songs that you find little bits of like pieces of gum underneath the desk, and you scrape them off and you put them together and you make something out of it.
And there are songs, he said, that need to be bullied. Where, he said he’s been in the studio working on a song, and the whole album is done and this one song wont give itself over. He said everyone’s gotten used to him doing stuff like this, where he’ll march up and down the studio saying [yelling] “The rest of the family’s in the car, we’re all going on vacation. You coming along or not? You’ve got ten minutes or else you’re getting left behind!” you know? And you’ve got to shake it down sometimes.

Anyway, the point is that another way to think of creativity is as something external. It’s something you need to talk to, discuss with, something that will give you gifts and run away when you don’t treat it right. Sometimes you sweet talk it, and sometimes you’ll fight with it, but the thing is that it’s an it. It’s not you, it’s not nothing, it’s a real thing.


So, if you hear me arguing with no one… it means that I’m crazy. But also – just maybe – productive.



  1. But how great is Elizabeth? I went to see her speak last week (having no prior knowledge of Eat, Pray, Love, save for thinking it sounded probably lame and making fun of my roommate for referencing it) and was mega impressed. She’s a doll!

  2. heey hehe would you mind checking out my blog? I’m new 🙂


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