Sunday, December 30, 2007

Artsy Wednesday: The Creative Lifespan

A couple of days ago, Ann Althouse linked to a NYT article by Bernard Holland comparing the creative lifespan of several major composers. Some, like Haydn, stretch their creative output over decades and may even be internally artistic long after their bodies no longer have the physical will to create. Others seemingly cram the same decades worth of creation into a very short time span - Holland cites Schubert as an example, saying, "forty composer-years were lived in about one and a half".

Althouse hones in on the disparity between our creative and actual lifespans. What resonates the most with me is the idea that because we never know what the future will bring, we just don't know if we'll have the energy, inclination or even capability to do things we're saving for "later", when we have more time or money or whatever.

Of course I immediately relate that to myself: what am I putting off that I should just go ahead and do. And wouldn't it be awesome if I had capabilities like Schubert (minus his crippling STD).

But looking back at the original article - the differences between composers in terms of patterns of creative output - I'm sure there's a comparison to be made here with chefs. I don't know enough about current or historical chefs to actually make the comparisons, but isn't it logical that some people are wildly innovative and successful and creative in short bursts early in their careers, but artistically (or physically) burn out at a young age, while others spread their greatness across a long career and gently fade away, or sputter out physically as creative ideas about food still bounce around in their brains?

Yet another thing to help me justify writing about food as an art...

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