After he and Clare had dinner with us one night, Farley Mowat started telling me how his writing was going. He was in fact quite disappointed at how little he'd accomplished that day. We talked on for a while and then I took the opportunity to ask him if he had any thoughts on, or had ever written about the creative process.
His voice took on a serious tone, “What do you mean?”
"Well," I said," I've always been very interested in understanding where inspiration comes from and how creative ideas are formed. I remember enjoying reading Arthur Koestler’s book, The Creative Act a long time ago, and since then I’ve often found myself trying to analyze — as he did in his book — what happens, what goes on, when a writer, composer or artist is being inspired creatively ”.
Farley looked visibly alarmed and said in a disapproving way, “I never think about that at all, and neither should you. I don’t try to analyze where creativity comes from or ever try to look over my own shoulder when I’m writing".
He spoke as if he thought that to venture there was somehow entering forbidden territory. “
Anyway,” he argued, “ it's nonsense to try to understand that sort of thing. It's like trying to see beyond the grave or foretell the future. "
"On the contrary, I think it's more like trying to explore in the opposite direction." I said. "It's more a kind of peering into the source of life, a looking beyond one's beginnings, into our origins as human beings, and not just know that creativity is fundamental to who we are, but try to begin to recognize how it comes to us, and where it comes from."
"You're crazy." he said. "I'd leave that stuff alone. "