Monday, December 14, 2015

Age and Creativity

Despite my busy schedule over the weekend, I managed to read Susan Kaye Quinn's The Legacy Human, first part of the Singularity series. It's about a teenage boy who's an artist, and he has to compete against other teenage artists for the chance to win immortality not just for himself, but for his dying mother. It's a good book,fast-paced and thought-provoking, and it's the current front-runner for my Hugo nomination. However, one of the issue it makes me think about might not be what Quinn had in mind.

In her world, teens compete to ascend (be transferred to an augmented state) because they're most likely to survive the process. Given that the youths apparently don't have to work or go to school (which could explain some of the problems in their society), it's plausible that they could practice enough to master their art. But what kind of life experiences or perspectives can one accumulate in less than two decades? Is this system fair to the late bloomers--assuming that the losers or those not picked for the competition would bother continuing their art with no hope of the big reward? Even a prodigy like Mozart benefited from maturity. Perhaps as a middle-aged writer, I'd rather read about characters closer to my age, ones more likely to inspire me, than ones I'm now old enough to parent. There are certainly real-life examples of people being creative at every stage of life, from Mozart to Grandma Moses.

Do you feel age makes a difference in creativity? Do you think it's harder to have a creative mind as one gets older? Alternatively, how does one preserve a creative mindset as one gets older. Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.


Pat Dilloway said...

From what I've read most writers are best from their mid twenties to mid fifties. After that they tend to get stale. Not that some don't buck that.

Sandra Almazan said...

Unfortunately, I'm closer to the end of that range than I'd like.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Yeah, I'm falling off the end of that scale right now.
I think youth are just as creative, but experience does add a lot, including more experience and more solutions to problems.
I'm also not into young adult books because I prefer reading closer to my age.

Maria Zannini said...

There's creativity and then there's innovation. I think younger people are better at innovation.

I feel I'm more creative now because I have a lot more experience to draw from. Anything that fills your well is drink for your creative soul.

indigogarden said...

I feel that the youth do not have enough life experience to create good stories. Not that they are not creative, but they have not developed the 10K hours to complete mastery of their craft. Once they have gained some life experience and those 10K hours of learning the craft, then the game changes.

I started writing at 45 and am still going strong. I know many people that write through their 70s and 80s and hope to be among them. We may all be writing longer than previous generations due to the new extended longevity. It is something to look forward to.

As for Quinn's "The Legacy Human", I agree that it is a Hugo contender. I normally do not read YA, but liked the concept of her novel. It turned out to be a page turner and good science fiction. I can recommend the book without hesitation.

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