The Tools of Creation

By Randall | Improv Tips
5 Feb 2012

I just read the following passage in Free Play: Improvisation in Life and Art, regarding creative blocks:

If I think of the violin as an object to be controlled, if I think of the piano, the pen, the paintbrush, the computer, or my body as objects to be controlled by a subject, an I, then by definition they are outside of me. My limited and self-limiting I is, of its nature, tied up in knots. Unless I surrender my identity, the instrument’s identity, and the illusion of control, I can never become one with my own process, and the blocks will remain. Without surrender and trust – nothing.

In reflecting on this, I could imagine feeling at one with my pen and journal when writing an entry; I could not imagine it with the PC that I use for most of my daily computing needs, but I could with my MacBook. Say what you will about Apple and their marketing tactics, but it is much easier for me to feel a connection and a unity with my Mac than with my PC. It is my preferred tool for writing blog posts, and makes me feel like I am creating something new when I write, more so than any other medium except an old journal that I have been using for years. Like Coca Cola, Apple focuses less on the properties of their products (flavor, appearance, speed, etc) and more on how those products integrate with and enhance your lifestyle. Maybe that is part of why we see so many people at coffee shops working on their Macs.

But how does this apply to improv? In improv, all you have to work with are your body, a stage, a partner, and an audience. You must strive to unify your mind and body, so that your physical actions trigger emotional responses, and your emotions are expressed with every fabric of your physical being. You must learn how to work with your audience, become one with them, and love them, like the bond between a cowboy and his horse. You must listen to your partner and understand what they are communicating to you, beyond what they are saying, and give up any attempts to control them. You must love your stage, feel at home when you stand on it, imagine energy flowing from your feet down into the depths of the stage, and returning to you. The stage is your garden, it supports and sustains you, and you hold bring life to it. And you must let your scene live, grow, and expire organically, nurturing it when it needs nurturing, and killing it when it has run its course.

photo courtesy of

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>