In addition to being the moving force behind transcendence, enthusiasm is also the emotional component of creativity. When a person is engulfed with enthusiasm, her excitement gives rise to greater focus and concentration of energy, and often is a product of a new insight or opening. That is why it is the emotion’s creative force.
I see an improvement in Helen day to day, almost from hour to hour. Everything must have a name now. Wherever we go, she asks eagerly for the names of things she has not learned at home. She is anxious for her friends to spell, and eager to teach the letters to every one she meets. She drops the signs and pantomime she used before, as soon as she has words to supply their place, and the acquirement of a new word affords her the liveliest pleasure. And we notice that her face grows more expressive each day. [Annie Sullivan, Letters, April 10, 1887.]
- William Morrow, Beneath the Sands of Egypt: Adventures of an Unconventional Archaelogist (Random House, 2010).
- Harold Evans, My Paper Chase: True Stories of Vanished Times (Little, Brown and Company, 2009).
- Inger Christensen, The Condition of Secrecy (New Directions, 2018): “all her writing . . . aims to be a history of no less than everything: the origins of the stars and our souls, the beauty of fractals and of third-century Chinese poetry. It is a book about eating strawberries, witch-burning and the challenge that the soft, scumbled sides of clouds pose to geometry. It’s about standing in the garden and watching yellow slugs ‘moving like slow flames’ in sunlight. The poet and classicist Anne Carson has said that Christensen’s omnivorous impulse is matched only by the early Greek poet Hesiod.”
The dark side of enthusiasm:
- Susan Campbell Bartoletti, Hitler Youth: Growing Up in Hitler's Shadow (Scholastic Nonfiction, 2005).
Ian Falconer has written a series of children's books about a pig-child with an insatiable appetite for the world.
- Ian Falconer, Olivia goes to Venice (Atheneum, 2010).
- Ian Falconer, Olivia helps with Christmas (Atheneum, 2007).
- Ian Falconer, Olivia forms a band (Atheneum, 2006).
- Ian Falconer, Olivia . . . and the Missing Toy (Atheneum, 2003).
- Ian Falconer, Olivia Counts (Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing/Atheneum, 2002).
- Ian Falconer, Olivia saves the circus (Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing/Atheneum, 2001).
- Ian Falconer, Olivia (Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing/Atheneum, 2000).
Music: Composers, artists, and major works
One Saturday evening I drove into Manhattan to pick up some files from my office in downtown New York, not realizing that many of the streets were blocked off for a weekend basketball tournament. I wasn't a happy fellow but by chance I had brought with me a recording by a guitarist from the Bahamas, Joseph Spence. Within a few minutes I was smiling, listening to the musical artist who seemed to enjoy what he was doing more than any other musician I have ever heard, before or since. Spence's guttural humming accompaniment to his masterful guitar work captures the ideal of playing as though no one was watching. Despite his prodigious talents, he never strayed far from his native Bahamas, where he had been discovered playing guitar on his porch while he was in his forties. The classic recording that I heard that Saturday evening captures that discovery. Here it is (Complete Folkways), with some other albums of his music. On the recordings of Christian songs, you can hear how those church ladies durn near ruined him. Obviously, that was not where his heart was. He could sing Christian songs with his characteristic enthusiasm but only if it was in the music.
- “The Complete Folkways Recordings 1958”
- “Selections from Encore: Unheard Recordings of Bahamian Guitar and Singing”
- “Bahaman Folk Guitar: Joseph Spence”
- “Good Morning Mr. Walker”
- “Happy All the Time”
Chris Thile rose to prominence as a mandolin player as a boy. He brings a sense of joyfulness both to popular and classical music. For the past several years, he has hosted the popular radio program Prairie Home Companion.
- Eric Alexander, “Second Impression”
- Per Mathisen, “Sounds of 3”
- Phronesis, “Life to Everything” (2013): “. . . irresistible excitement, skillful flair and expansive compositional craft . . .”
- Phronesis, “Parallax” (2016): Recorded in studio on a single day, this “. . . adrenalin soaked . . .” album “has all the standout features of the trio’s work. Rhythmic drive. Constant shifts in mood and texture. Drama heightened by dazzlingly fast reactions. All leavened by a melodic sense all three draw on as much when improvising as composing.”
- Phronesis, Julian Argüelles, and Frankfurt Radio Big Band “The Behemoth” (2017): “Consisting of ten new arrangements of compositions from the Phronesis catalogue by Julian Argüelles, commissioned for their tenth anniversary, this remarkable, vibrant new album featuring the Frankfurt Radio Big Band is rich in colour and bursting with spirit and creativity.”
If you have eagerness in your heart, it means you are alive,
If your eyes are filled with dreams, it means you are alive
Learn to be free like the wind,
Learn to flow freely like the river,
Embrace every moment with open arms,
See a new horizon every time with your eyes,
If you carry surprise in your eyes, it means you are alive,
If you have eagerness in your heart, it means you are alive…
[Javed Akhtar, “If you have eagerness in your heart”]