Monday, August 18, 2008

Tabula Rasa No. 1 -- A Conversation with Edmund Morris

How do we explain the creative process? How does an artist, a writer, a scientist, starting with nothing but an idea, create something from nothing? How does a novel emerge from a blank page, a painting from an empty canvas, an invention from a curious mind?

I’ve always been fascinated by the process that allows talented people to start with nothing more than a
 tabula rasa, then apply their creative abilities and end up with a contribution to society. Being fascinated is one thing, explaining it is another. So rather than attempt to explain, I thought that I would fascinate.

Over the years, Donna and I have been fortunate enough to make acquaintances with quite a few remarkably creative people, with their achievements originating from both sides of the brain – painters, sculptors, writers, composers, musicians, inventors, engineers, scientists, physicians, playwrights, producers, directors, actors, singers, et al.

I’ve begun to prevail on some of them to share their experiences with me on video – what they created, how they did it, why they did it. The hoped-for result is that the interviews will be entertaining and perhaps even illuminating. We may or may not infer how creativity is effected, but at a minimum we should enjoy watching talented people talk about themselves and their work.

The first video interview in this series is with the writer Edmund Morris. In 1980, Edmund won the Pulitzer Prize in Biography for
 The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt. In addition to his trilogy on T.R., Edmund has also written biographies of Ronald Reagan and Beethoven.


Kenyan-born, Edmund lives with his biographer wife Sylvia (Edith Roosevelt, Clare Boothe Luce) just a stone’s throw from chez nous in Litchfield County, Connecticut.

[Video to be re-inserted soon.]

Click on play button for Edmund Morris video