Madeleine Lâ€™Engle on Creativity, Hope, Getting Unstuck, and How Studying Science Enriches Art | Brain Pickings
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She believed in interconnectedness.
Like Einstein, whose mythology holds that he came up with his greatest physics breakthroughsÂ during his violin breaks, Lâ€™Engle turns to music toÂ overcome creative blockÂ in her writing, tickling the timid intuitive self into reengaging with the intellectual when the latter is on overdrive:
Playing the piano is for me a way of getting unstuck. If Iâ€™m stuck in life or in what Iâ€™m writing, if I can I sit down and play the piano. What it does is break the barrier that comes between the conscious and the subconscious mind. The conscious mind wants to take over and refuses to let the subconscious mind work, the intuition. So if I can play the piano, that will break the block, and my intuition will be free to give things up to my mind, my intellect. So itâ€™s not just a hobby. Itâ€™s a joy.
Indeed, this cross-pollination of different faculties is central to what makes Lâ€™Engleâ€™s writing so bewitching. She applied it not only to different aspects of the self, but also to different domains of knowledge. To write her most beloved book,Â A Wrinkle in Time, she drew on quantum mechanics and particle physics; she infusedÂ A Wind in the DoorÂ with cellular biology; inÂ A Swiftly Tilting Planet, she fused ancient Celtic religions with relativity theory.