Kathryn Koromilas's Reviews > Does Happiness Write Blank Pages? on Stoicism and Artistic Creativity

Does Happiness Write Blank Pages? on Stoicism and Artistic Cr... by Piotr Stankiewicz
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it was amazing
bookshelves: 2019-reading-challenge, 2019-reading-challenge-read

[Review of this going up on the Stoicism Today blog (will update when posted): https://modernstoicism.com/stoicism-t...]

Sneak preview:

When I saw Piotr Stankiewicz’s Does Happiness Write Blank Pages: On Stoicism and Artistic Creativity appear on my social media feed, I had a dramatic reaction: “No! Piotr, no. It is unhappiness that writes blank—very, very blank—pages.” I was, of course, talking about me (as a creative does—me, me, me). And, I was, of course, talking about my own creative block, my trying to write the pages of the next great novel, but writing nothing at all, coming up blank. In his foreword to Stankiewicz’s comprehensive, complex, and fascinating thesis, the late Lawrence C. Becker, states what we all know too well: “Seeking to write the Great American novel, usually leads to despair, not happiness.”

Me. In a nutshell. Only that—given my birthplace—I was seeking to write the Great Australian Novel. Not important.

What is important, is that I, like anyone whose rational faculties are still functioning, and who wants to live a good, happy, and productive life, turned to Stoicism. Just like Stankiewicz—who is a poet (Romantic, I bet) as well as a philosopher—I was utterly “captivated” by the promise of this “optimization project” (110) called Stoicism. I was completely captivated “by the grandiose ambitions of the Stoic ethics which promise freedom from fear and doubt” (xxii). And I desperately wanted to rid myself of the fear and doubt that had so clouded my creative pursuits. In banal terms, I had writers’ block. In other, more real terms, I was depressed. In short, I wanted Stoicism to fix me—bring me happiness—so that I could start writing again.

What was I thinking? Didn’t I know that happiness does not have a reputation for leading us towards artistic heights? And the Stoics? They are not known for their creative talents! But a blocked writer will do anything to fill those white pages.

Full review to follow on the Stoicism Today blog (will update when posted): https://modernstoicism.com/stoicism-t...
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Reading Progress

January 11, 2019 – Started Reading
January 11, 2019 – Shelved
January 11, 2019 – Shelved as: 2019-reading-challenge
January 31, 2019 – Shelved as: 2019-reading-challenge-read
January 31, 2019 – Finished Reading

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