This is the only book by good old Mr. Berry offered by my library. In fact, I found it ferretted back in a little section classified as “Young Adult General Non-Fiction”. I’m still trying to figure that one out. At any rate, I think I enjoy the clarity and immediacy of Berry speaking directly (even all the way back in 1977) just as much as I enjoy the beauty of his fiction.
It is a book of essays (indeed, so indicates the cover). Part of the second, entitled “Healing,” I thought worthy of taking down to remember. What is creativity?…
The task of healing is to respect oneself as a creature, no more and no less.
A creature is not a creator, and cannot be. There is only one Creation, and we are its members.
To be creative is only to have health: to keep oneself fully alive in the Creation, to keep the Creation fully alive in oneself, to see the Creation anew, to welcome one’s part in it anew.
The most creative works are all strategies of this health.
Works of pride, by self-called creators, with their premium on originality, reduce the Creation to novelty– the faint surprises of minds incapable of wonder.
Pursuing originality, the would-be creator works alone. In loneliness one assumes a responsibility for oneself that one cannot fulfill.
Novelty is a new kind of loneliness.
Wendell Berry, What Are People For?; “Healing”, part II
The “faint suprises of minds incapable of wonder.” Hm. Food for thought.