"I do believe deep down within our being is the source of creativity and it is that very source which connects to the primal rhythms of the universe."
Daly-Lipe, in her expansive work examining human creativity, begins with—and often revisits—the basic premise that we all contain a creative muse “lurking within us,” just waiting to be set free. It is characterized as spiritual in nature and simultaneously taps into the universal. Significantly, this phenomenon is also inherently shared across all of humanity. While the author’s primary focus within the world of creative expression is on the process and practice of creative writing, she makes an extensive effort to point out that similarly mysterious and deeply human factors are at play and endemic to any creative endeavor, be it music, dance, the visual arts, and so much more. The process is not something that can be taught, Daly-Lipe maintains, but rather encouraged and massaged in order to be “set free” for each of us who desires it so. It is this very process, in great detail and with an impassioned emphasis on helping her readership “set free” that creative muse from within, which the author explores throughout these pages. This is accomplished with an abundance of fervency for the subject matter at hand and in concert with a full-bodied, apparent compassion the author seems to feel for her readership.
Beginning with a quote from Joe Biden when he was Vice President of the United States regarding the inspiration of “imagination and creativity” which the arts, uniquely, can awaken within each of us, Daly-Lipe explains from the outset that this book is born from her years of teaching creative writing classes, wherein the primary goal is to “awaken the aesthetic sense and the creative muse” within each one of us, utilizing a multisensory, interdisciplinary, and holistic approach. Readers of her work, she writes, are encouraged to “enjoy the process” as they become “intoxicated with life.” The tool, says Daly-Lipe, is one’s heart. The medium, ultimately, is our very words.
The book’s current edition represents an expansion and updating of the original publication from 1999. New ideas reflecting more recent personal experiences in creativity (in general) and the creative writing process (more specifically) have been incorporated, and the expanded text additionally includes occasional accompanying photographs to further illustrate key notions. Individual chapters are dedicated to such essential and wholly significant concepts as words themselves, creativity (writ large), music, mystery, imagination, painting, participation, process, metaphor, myth, mathematics, symbols, nature, and the therapeutic properties inherent in reading and writing. Additionally, Daly-Lipe makes excellent use of a tremendous amount and range of germane quotations from such luminaries as Albert Einstein, Rainer Maria Rilke, Toni Morrison, Joseph Campbell, Henry David Thoreau, Ralph Waldo Emerson, James Joyce, Gertrude Stein, Virginia Wolfe, and so many more.
Daly-Lipe’s work is all-encompassing in its embrace of the human creative spirit. The monograph at hand contains both an incredibly impressive breadth and depth of philosophical and aesthetic insight. Daly-Lipe celebrates and encourages individual release of the creative muse, which, again, is a hallmark theme of the author. Creativity, the author insists, “does not have laws.” Rather, that which is required for the writer (or the artist, or musician, etc.) is equal amounts of artistic honesty and dedication to practice. “Write, write, and write until writing becomes second nature,” she insists. “Live, look, listen and write. The magic is there inside every human being.” The many interrelated ideas and themes explored are done so with a rich elegance and tireless, infectious enthusiasm. “The most valuable aspect of writing, creative writing in particular, is the process, not the product,” writes Daly-Lipe. “It is the journey, not the destination; the creating, not the created.” The educator and author’s book, in its entirety, is indeed inspiring. It is a celebration of life itself and, undoubtedly, will serve entirely useful for those on the path to unleashing their own inner sanctuary of unfettered, quite possibly endless, creativity.
- Jonah Meyer, US Review of Books