Create out loud
with Jennifer Louden
This week’s episode is a mind and heart-opening interview with one of my all-time favorite novelists, Ruth Ozeki. We discuss how her body of work expands my sense of what’s possible. Her latest novel, The Book of Form and Emptiness, left me a teary wreck (in all the best ways) as I finished it just hours before this conversation, and you won’t want to miss what she shares about her fresh creative approach to writing it.
Also a filmmaker, Zen Buddhist priest, and creative writing professor, Ruth’s work has received international acclaim and multiple awards over the years, beginning with her filmmaking career and debut novel, My Year of Meats (1998).
0:45 – Why Ruth’s latest novel, The Book of Form and Emptiness, left me a a teary wreck
1:20 – What books do to us
1:55 – The powerful way she takes on big questions in her work
3:10 – Why we need more questions, not answers
4:00 – How embracing not knowing opens creative doors
6:27 – The importance of knowing there’s no right way to do creative work
7:05 – Approaching your creative practice with curiosity
7:20 – Building self trust amidst the fantasies of who we think we should be
8:40 – Why creative practice matters
10:25 – How practicing Buddhism informs her work
13:10 – How “the book” informs the book as a co-creative process with readers
15:40 – The scariness of living in a time when our stories are falling apart
16:00 – Broadcast versus fragmented media messaging
17:00 – How stories are constantly changing and evolving our beliefs and who we are
18:05 – We are constantly making ourselves up
19:10 – How she works differently over a variety of creative mediums
19:55 – Knocking herself out of creative ruts
22:00 – The fresh creative process she used in writing The Book of Form and Emptiness and how objects in her life wound up in the book
24:57 – The story of writing her first novel, why she didn’t feel entitled to the genre, and how she started working in film and television
31:00 – How her work in film helped her write and fund her first novel
32:02 – Bringing suffering and insights from past jobs to your creative work
33:50 – When you’re a creative, nothing is wasted and everything is a gift
34:27 – Her approach to process journaling
37:15 – Why it’s important to never sit down to your creative work without questions
39:00 – How she stays motivated while writing
39:45 – Examples of questions she puts in her process journal
Get a copy of Ruth Ozeki’s books here:
Visit jenniferlouden.com/podcastkit to get instant access to a collection of audios that will
- help you with some of the most common struggles we creatives have to manage including fear of choosing,
- falling into compare and despair, managing the inner critic (s),
- and feeling too exposed and vulnerable when you put yourself or your work into the world.
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Make what you want. Make it boldly. Make it the only way you can.
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