Back before the Enlightenment and, especially, before the Romantics, we didn’t think of people being geniuses, but having geniuses. Creativity and inspiration dwelled somewhere outside – as a Muse, perhaps, an actual spirit. In Latin, genius loci, the spirit of a place, was something that dwelled at a given site, the divine spirit given specific form and nature.***
The human’s work was therefore not to be the genius, but to listen to the genius. To catch some external music and set it down.
That sounds a little spacey if you put it as bluntly as that. And yet – you will all know what it feels like to be in true creative flow. The words just come. The vision. The characters. The dialogue. To be sure, it doesn’t come down perfectly: you still need to edit the damn thing. You still need to use your brain and craft to shape the material. But it feels like the origin of all that good stuff lies outside you – or, at the very least, way outside your conscious ownership or control.
Please read the rest in the email I sent to the JWC Pioneers.