Friday, June 08, 2007

Movement and intellectual inspiration

I was inspired by a great post over at Squadratomagico's, about creative process in the circus she is part of, to say something I've been thinking about lately. She writes, "One of the most fruitful juxtapositions in my life is the fact that I work within a very stringent professional discipline, and play with a no-rules, no-standards performance group." What I've been thinking about is related, in my mind...

I'm in the middle of working on course design - I've been doing it on and off for the last couple of weeks. I've had moments of being quite stuck with one course, because, well, it just seems to be a very odd course. But it's been in spaces involving movement that I've had the major insights that have shifted my thinking around how to organize it.

A few weeks ago, I went to a dance performance - the teenaged daughter of friends of mine is in an arts high school, and I went to see their year-end show. It was stunning, considering that it was the work of high school students. Sitting there, watching their interpretation of The Rite of Spring (eek - my friend was one of the raped women), I made the breakthrough in thinking about this course that allowed me to at least begin designing it.

And yesterday, while I was out on a run, I had this rapidfire chain of insights that allowed me to shift its burgeoning organization and to hammer out, today, a structure I'm happier with.

I think back to my first theory course, as an undergrad, and to the first paper I wrote as the nascent theorist that I was...it was based on an insight I had while swimming (my preferred mode of exercise, back then). And it was about swimming.

It seems so clear that intellectual creativity - and it is intellectual creativity that is involved in course design - is entwined, for me at least, with the possibility represented by movement. Not very original, I know, but it's been striking me lately...

5 comments:

jb said...

It's not quite as dramatic as your examples, but I always, always, *always* think of things while I'm walking. I've thought of paper topics, worked out dissertation problems, and sometimes even written paragraphs while I'm walking (in my head, of course--usually I try to memorize at least the key sentences so I can write them down as soon as I'm stationary). Of course it never occurs to me to go for a walk when I'm stuck....

Hilaire said...

I WISH I could get myself to go out when I'm stuck, too!! Such a good idea.

I totally get how walking works...the same thing...

medieval woman said...

That marvelous that you've had those great insights! I felt the same way on our trip...

squadratomagico said...

I also get ideas while walking, but seldom when doing yoga (which I concentrate on very closely). I think certain kinds of movement foster new ideas and connections, but it has to be something that requires half-focus. It's while I'm using part of my brain to think about the body, and the other half wanders freely, that this happens for me.

Anastasia said...

i get a lot of my flashes of insight sitting in church.