Amy Tan's Next Book Is Nonfiction About Creativity, And I Am Already Excited
From her first novel The Joy Luck Club to her more recent novels, Amy Tan has always been deservedly well-known for her fiction, but she's also written several non-fiction titles, and now she's working on another. That's right: Amy Tan's next book is a nonfiction book about creativity, she just announced. The book, which Tan is still writing, will be partly based on the TED Talk she gave on creativity in 2008. And as such, it already promises to be amazing.
As Tan explained in a Facebook post announcing the project,
A number of years ago, I did a talk for TED on creativity, geared to a question they chose: Where does creativity hide? I actually don't think it hides. But I made up a talk, which I was never that satisfied with, because I could only talk about the periphery of creativity and not how it actually happens, which is something I could not answer clearly for myself at the time.
Tan writes that it bothered her that the talk was still available online when she wasn't quite happy with it, so she decided to try returning to the subject, this time in a book. With the project, she says she hopes, "to really look into what I think creativity it, what goes into it, how it happens, how I experience it."
Are you excited yet?
But since there's no word on when the book might be done or when it might be released, for now we will all just have to content ourselves with the 2008 talk Tan gave on creativity. Because even though Tan herself might not be completely happy with it, it's still fascinating. So here are four ideas from the TED Talk that I at least hope Tan will explore in the book.
1. Creativity Is About Not Suppressing Associations
Tan says in the talk that being unable to suppress associations helps create meaning. You create connections between seemingly unrelated things, and suddenly you're able to create new meanings. Which is really interesting to think about.
2. The Importance Of Ambiguity
Tan talks about the importance of ambiguity. Trying to sort through ambiguity can be frustrating but can lead to extraordinary things.
3. Taking On New Beliefs
Tan talks about staying in a village in China and taking on new beliefs and how that allowed her to properly approach the story she was trying to write at the time. "There is no absolute truth," Tan says. And the idea that taking on new mindsets is essential for creative processes is an idea well worth exploring.
4. Where Do The Ideas Come From?
Tan talks about so many things in her talk, from quantum mechanics to the nature of luck, but she continually circles back to the idea of where creativity comes from. Is it in our brains? In our souls? In our past? Is it random? Is it meaningful? Is it luck? It's a rich area, one that deserves more than a 20-minute talk, and based on her post, it seems she will indeed be talking about that even more in the book.
You can watch the full TED talk here.
Images: TED talks