Living a Creative Life

Walter Mosley

Lesson time 13:31 min

Making a deep commitment to the creative life doesn’t have to serve others. Walter explains why it’s important to create for yourself.

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Topics include: Creativity Is a Deep Commitment · Do What You Want to Do · Being a Black Creative · Create Just for Yourself · Walter’s Art and Finding a Voice · Keep Pushing Till You Make It


[MUSIC PLAYING] - I think that you'll find that all life, not only human life, but all life is based on the ability to be creative, to be able to change in the face of any situation. You know, spiders do it, bees do it. Human beings-- every moment of their life is creative. Anybody who's had a child knows that that child is continually taking in and recreating what they see, what they know, how they think in-- in order to be able to train themselves to deal with the world. And I think that much of education, much of the university much of public education teaches you not to think, not to be creative, not to be different, and in doing so, strangles its own culture. Your whole life has to be a life of being creative if you're going to be, like, an artist. And that's really very difficult because creativity is defined by how much money it's worth by almost everyone. And so I-- I just spend my time-- I like being comfortable, and I like having fun. But I never think about know making anything beyond that because what use is it, you know? You know, it's really, actually, physically impossible to own anything, to, yeah, possess anything. And when we sometimes manage to do that, it's a crime. We take over people's country. We commit genocide across the nation. We enslave people, make them do our-- our labor for us, make them raise our children for us, make them suffer for us. And so yes, I believe that we should be creative. We should be artists in every moment, every element of our lives. But I feel that this is a deep commitment which promises happiness and heartbreak. [MUSIC PLAYING] You know, my father and I, yeah, had such a wonderful relationship. And he was-- he was so worried that, you know, my life was going to fall apart because he had-- he'd had such a hard upbringing. So many people along the way had died on my father, had-- had-- had been destroyed, you know, by violence, by-- by drugs, by racism. And-- so he was he wanted me to be successful. When I tell him I want to be a writer, my father said, Walter, you'll never be a writer. Don't-- don't even think about that. You should go into prisons. That's a growing business. You should work in prisons. And I said, OK, Dad, but I'm going to write. And when I-- he said, you'll never be a writer. And then I wrote, you know, my-- my book. And I called him. I said, Dad, I got the book published. And not only did they want one book, they wanted two books. And they paid me enough that I can live on it. And he said, I always knew that would happen. And I said, Dad, you told me that it would never happen. He said, I know I told you that, but I always knew it was going to happen. And it was like, OK, Dad. People in the modern world are given advice by people from the past. And you have to understand this. Before the 20th century, knowledge doubled every 100 years, all the way back. The number of things people knew kind of doubled in 100 years. So when a father ...

About the Instructor

Walter Mosley, bestselling author and recipient of the National Book Award’s Lifetime Achievement Medal, has written more than 60 books over his 30-year career and is celebrated for fiction that addresses our culture’s racial divides. Now he’s sharing the elements of storytelling that have helped him along the way. Learn how to choose the right words, structure, genre, and characters to create the novel that’s in you.

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Walter Mosley

In his MasterClass, Walter Mosley teaches you how to rethink genres and the “rules” of fiction and how to approach writing your own novel.

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