If creativity can be learnt, then Julie Burstein should be the teacher. As an author, radio host and producer, she dedicated her work to the pursuit of the creative spark.

She managed to find the spark in numerous areas of human activity. In her talk, she uses four different stories to illustrate creativity’s own mysterious ways.

Take a look:


  • immerse – to plunge into or place under a liquid; dip; sink.
  • kiln – a furnace or oven for burning, baking, or drying something, especially one for firing pottery, calcining limestone, or baking bricks.
  • overcome – to get the better of in a conflict
  • flourish – to be successful; prosper.
  • rubble – broken bits and pieces of anything, as that which is demolished:
  • penned-in area – separated area



Think about it

As you listem to the talk pause at the times indicated in brackets and answer the questions below.

  • How is raku made in Japan? (pause @ 1:47)
  • What does Julie like about raku. (pause @ 2:14)
  • What is the story of raku creation a metaphor of? (pause @ 2:35)
  • Why does Julie mention a “lighted rectangle in your pocket?” Do you agree with her opinion? (pause @ 4:08)
  • How is opening up illustrated. With what story? (pause @ 5:38)
  • How did dyslexia help Richard Ford? (pause @ 7:17)
  • Why did Richard Serra give up painting? What did he take up instead? (pause @ 10:25)
  • What event prompted Joel Mayerowitz to start documenting 9/11 in photos. (pause @ 13:05)
  • What is the final image of the Japanese tea bowl a metaphor of? (listen to the end)


Practice makes perfect


Fill in the blank spaces with the verbs below. Change the verb form if necessary.

realize   –  reverse  –  grow  –  suppose  –  immerse

When I sat down to write a book about creativity, I realized that the steps were ________. I had to let go at the very beginning, and I had to ________ myself in the stories of hundreds of artists and writers and musicians and filmmakers, and as I listened to these stories, I ________ that creativity grows out of everyday experiences more often than you might think, including letting go. It was ________ to break, but that’s okay. (Laughter) (Laughs) That’s part of the letting go, is sometimes it happens and sometimes it doesn’t, because creativity also ________ from the broken places.


Fill in the blank spaces with the missing words.

______ best way to learn about anything is through stories, and so I want to ______ you a story about work and play and about four aspects of life that we need to embrace ­­­­______ order for our own creativity to flourish. The first embrace is something ­­­______ we think, “Oh, this is very easy,” but it’s actually getting harder, and that’s paying attention ______ the world around us. So many artists speak about needing to be open, to embrace experience, and that’s hard to do when you have ­­­­­­______ lighted rectangle in your pocket that takes all ______ your focus.


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