Rick Rubin’s inclusion of conversation as an example of a creative act in his new book, The Creative Act: A Way of Being, resonates deeply with me. Rubin has spent his career in the world of music, but his vision and understanding of creativity present a life lesson for us all.
The online Cambridge Dictionary defines creative as “producing or using original and unusual ideas” — and create as “to make something new, or invent something.”
Reflecting on these definitions along with Rubin’s writing, I am prompted to consider what happens when we engage in conversation with the mindset of it being a creative act. The possibilities are vast and fascinating.
Art, Creativity, and the Reflections of Rick Rubin
Rubin invites us to look beyond the more traditional creative roles like those who paint or sculpt, perform, or compose – just to name a few.
He asks us to consider additional ways we can “bring something into existence that wasn’t there before,” offering that this “could be a conversation, the solution to a problem, a note to a friend,” and more.
“No matter what tools you use to create,
the true instrument is you.
And through you,
the universe that surrounds us
all comes into focus.”
“The real work of the artist
is a way of being in the world.”
My way of being in the world is one reflected in the definition of what I call a delicious conversation, which is
“one that is intentionally honoring of each person involved, and results in the elevation of the human spirit.”
This is conversation at its best, and it is definitely a creative act. An example can be found from Rubin:
“We are openly receiving. Paying attention with no preconceived ideas. The only goal is to fully and clearly understand what is being transmitted, remaining totally present with what’s being expressed — and allowing it to be what it is.”
Each participant in the conversation does this, delving deeper guided by their curiosity to explore areas of mutual interest. These conversations are alive and often take interesting and unexpected turns as new information is shared.
What Happens When Conversations Become Creative?
Reflecting on conversation as a creative act has enhanced my thinking and brought new discoveries. I include here all good communication – both verbal and written.
These creative, intentionally honoring, delicious conversations come with gifts that are built upon over time.
We focus on the other person or people involved — listening intently to ensure we understand, supporting the unfolding of the information being shared. We put aside preconceived ideas and remain open to an emerging truth.
Together, we gain deeper clarity on issues, relationships, life experiences. We strengthen bonds and build longevity in our relationship with those with whom we communicate. That helps us build trust which then strengthens those bonds.
New understandings can create something entirely new — a business opportunity, a way of interacting, a group of select individuals who become friends, colleagues, family. We can uncover new knowledge about ourselves as well as about others.
As we continue having these kinds of conversations, a shift in our worldview can open — expanding and becoming more inclusive. Our world literally starts to change.
What is the creative way of seeing the world? Rubin writes,
“As artists, we aim to live in a way in which we see the extraordinary hidden in the seemingly mundane. Then challenge ourselves to share what we see in a way that allows others a glimpse of this remarkable beauty.”
We are surrounded by much that is extraordinary — the challenge is to see it. Find it, revel in the experience, and then share it. That conversation is our creative act. Our palette is the words that describe the beauty of our world and all who live in it.
That is something worth sharing.