Good news for me. Not too many brain-dead people create art.

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Creativity is one of my favorite subjects. I coached Destination Imagination for several years and I saw the beauty in the uninhibited brain and what it could achieve. My last team, high schoolers, went to the finals with their ant costumes and super fun 8 minute performance about a colony and an over-reaching bossy queen.

Musician and researcher, Charles Limb, recently gave a TED talk on Your Brain and Improv. Wanting to know more about the brain and how we are creative, Limb conducted an experiment using an FMRI machine to record blood flow in the brain when someone is being creative.

I won’t go into all the details here, but what his experiment showed was that by using music as a medium, there is heightened blood flow and brain activity when performing an Improv piece over and above when the same person is performing a learned, memorized piece. It also showed that when being creative, a big part of your frontal lobe has to shut down and he surmised that this is so you are not inhibited when improvising, creating. But not to worry, he specifically said, “Not too many brain-dead people create art.”

Now, there is a lesson here for the writer. I have been taught to shut the internal editor off when I am free writing. I can turn it back on again when I am revising, but for the first or second pass, I am to focus on the story, not worrying about what is wrong with it. Now I have more reason to stay focused and go to that happy, imaginative place, as long as I don’t have to wear an ant costume.

How’s your brain activity?


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6 Responses to Good news for me. Not too many brain-dead people create art.

  1. margaret mackencie says:

    I think my brain’s a goner…i should try to be more creative

  2. Steve Lee says:

    Great story. I wonder how big an ant’s brain is in comparison to that of a human.

  3. Sally I love destination imagination!

  4. Sally Wright says:

    Cool, Patsy! I coached for many years and went to Knoxville twice…such a great program. Let’s get an adult group together–could be fun! Let’s pretend we are all in a small car crossing the Canadian border and what might happen when a border guard mistakes our powdered laundry detergent for something much more sinister!

  5. Ha ha…That story is one I have told again and again over the years! It was worth the harassment…remember seeing the pilot whale on the Bay of Fundy? Awesome memory!

  6. Stacey Lee says:

    Love this idea! Get the creative meats down before you start adding editing potatoes 🙂

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