Here is a relatively long (22 mins.) TED talk from Amy Tan, author of Joy Luck Club, about creativity--where it comes from, how you (and your environment) foster it, and what you can do with it. It's like any good TED talk--it's informative, inspirational, funny, and touching. Something I love about this one in particular though is that she shares her real life experiences that served as inspiration for her work. It's so great when a creator reflects on their creations and, in the same gesture, reflects on themselves. I've always been concerned about the notion of authorship and what a body of work means to the creator's identity. Furthermore, what should be included in a body of work? Everything the creator ever created? Only the things that are published? Only the things that the creator wanted to be published? And do these creations have any bearing on the creators' identity? If so, how? Do they just reflect on a moment in time in the creator's life? Or are creations supposed to stand alone, outside a body of work, or the moment in time, or the creator themself?
Despite having written several graduate school essays on this very subject, I obviously have no conclusions about the notion of authorship. I struggle with my own identity as a creator all the time because I am always being prompted to explain myself. But I guess, if I look to oral history as a reflection of the same kind of (identity-creating/explaining/questioning/destroying process) art-making is, the answer is right there: you just do it and then it's up to the person beholding the creation to decide and interpret. You don't have any control over it after that. While that doesn't make me feel any more satisfied about the authorship conundrum, at least it helps me to create without having to worry about what that creation means to my identity as a creator.
Well, anyway, watch this TED talk. She touches on this subject a bit, but mostly it's just fun to hear her relate stories. There's also a very crowd-pleasing moment at the end!