What Comes Next and How to Like It

The Process of Creating #2

The April 4, 2015, edition of The Economist contains a review about the new book What Comes Next and How to Like It, by Abigail Thomas. The review is unfortunately uncredited, but here are a few excerpts: "Abigail Thomas is not a painter, but she makes paintings anyway. Using oil-based house paint, which is toxic, she drips, flings and pours colour onto glass and then pushes it all around. Failed compositions are scraped away, yielding new and surprising arrangements...

This is not a book about painting. It is about pushing around sometimes toxic material in an effort- sometimes vain, often frustrating- to make something that looks right, or at least to find beauty in the results. This, of course, is what it means to write, and certainly to write a memoir...

As with her painting, Ms. Thomas's writing involves pushing around the colour and then scraping most of it away, leaving sentences that are as sculpted and considered as bonsai trees. The result is a thing of beauty, largely owing to the author's utter fearlessness in the face of the unexpected."

Although this review made me want to read the book, what I love most about it is the way it illuminates the creative process. It doesn't matter whether one is making artwork, crafting a business model, or creating a life- the process of creation is the same. It's often messy and disorganized, bewildering and frustrating. And once we get rid of anything that isn't truly important, we are hopefully left with something of substance, something wonderful, something worthy.