Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep. Musings from someone who sees stories everywhere.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Bitter or Timid?

It's uncanny how heartfelt words from a great writer can guide one's thoughts away from musty, cobweb-infested niches toward fresh air and clear skies.

Some years ago, Salman Rushdie's detractors set a price upon his head and forced him into hiding. In continuing to write, Rushdie has overcome "two traps set by the fatwa: writing timid novels and writing bitter ones." He says, “If somebody's trying to shut you up, sing louder and, if possible, better. My experience just made me all the more determined to write the very best books I could find it in myself to write." Rushdie continues to strive for greater literary heights, and he draws us into his world of consummate artistry.

Few can hope to match Rushdie's intellect and talent. But we too can try to face setbacks and overcome them. When a nameless little stream is stopped by a row of boulders, it can sink into a stagnant pool and let slime and insects breed in its once clear water. Or it can gush over the barrier and flow on, bubbling over and singing its cheerful song on the way.