I recently had the opportunity to watch a documentary on Australia’s ABC about Tim Minchin and his musical Matilda.

Any introspective on creatives always deeply intrigue me. I always look for the similarities in their lives and mine. Completely narcissistic I know, but somehow I’m looking for a sense of commonality, a sense of belonging to the greater creative community.

At one point in the documentary, Tim spoke about shivers. He spoke about things that are innate and this gave me cause to ponder. How do we know as creatives when we have created something that is good. Something that will work. Something will tug at the heart strings, make people double over with laughter. How do we know?

Tim put it quite simply. Its all about the shivers. Does it give the creator the shivers. If it does, it is highly likely that it will give the audience a similar feeling as well. Shivers evoke emotion. Emotion evokes feeling and feeling creates memory. The indelible marks on our brain are invariably created because of feelings. When we felt good, when we felt bad, sad or lonely. These are the things, episodes that stick in our minds. Creatives strive for this everyday. For the moments that stick. For the moments that leave that mark. That shiver. Their mark.

A Few Good Men

‘Ten Hut. there is an officer on deck!’

Shivers don’t lie. Shivers are truthful because they area an involuntary response to an episode, an event. They are uncontrolled. Laughter and tears are uncontrollable. Try and hold back tears because of a feeling of sadness or grief. Try and not laugh because of a feeling or joy or if something is just truly, funny.

Feelings have nothing to do with gender. Feelings, like I said are uncontrollable, whether you are male, female or non gender specific, feelings will get  you every time. The compartmentalisation of feelings to either gender compartmentalise our society. As Caroline Paul points outs in her ideas.ted.com article, just because your book is declined because it is not gender specific because it would exclude a gender is ridiculous. I know I enjoyed reading books that would appeal to any gender growing up simply because of the story. Stories by Enid Blyton or Alastair Maclean had equal appeal, not because of the plots or storylines but because of the feelings evoked by the stories.

So how to do we as creatives evoke these feelings. We evoke them through tenacity. Micro tenacity. Step by step. Piece by piece. The ideas will come but maybe not straight away. It’s about commitment. About consistency, persistency. Staying with it. Not letting go. Trying things. Failing. Getting back up. Failing again. But ultimately, through this micro tenacity; achieving. Creating those moments when people feel. When people are moved to point of tears or unbridled laughter. To the point when they don’t realise it, but their memories are being etched with the feeling that provides the experience that they will remember and talk about for the years and decades to come.

Being creative is awe inspiring!

Shane Mallory

Shane is a performer, emcee, host, communicator, creative, mentor and innovative theatre director. He lives in Ipswich, Queensland with his wife Natalie, who are almost 'empty nesters' providing a home for their two daughters' dog and two cats.

1 Comment

Try and Change Culture without Emotion – Shane Mallory · November 1, 2016 at 9:36 am

[…] an earlier post I spoke about how Tim Minchin knows when he has written a good song or lyric. It gives him the shivers. If it gives him the shivers he knows that his audience will also have a […]

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