David McCullough, Robert Henri, and William Zinsser All Agree: Paint, singing.

A few summers ago I heard that the historian David McCullough would be giving the commencement address at a fine-arts college in a small Connecticut town, and, finding myself in the area, I went around to listen. McCullough is my role model for his honorable conduct as a writer, and on this occasion, as always, his values were solid. The graduating class only had 25 young men and women, and it would have been easy for McCullough to give a standard commencement talk, exhorting the young to go forth with high hopes and high ideals and love of country. Of course he didn’t. The code of honor says: Do it right. There’s no free lunch. He had written a talk specifically for those newborn artists–a talk generously furnished with helpful admonitions by great artists of the past. The one that I wrote down was by the American painter Robert Henri: “You should paint like a man coming over the top of the hill singing.”

Amen. That’s also how you should write, sing, dance, draw, sculpt, act, play an instrument, take a photograph, design a building, live a life.

- William Zinsser, The American Scholar

Eleanor Catton: Structure Liberates Creativity

(Joseph Campbell's) The Hero with a Thousand Faces had a huge impact on me when I read it, I suppose about five or six years ago now and really shaped the way I see narrative ... on the one hand, it might seem as though having a kind of structure in place or a pattern in place would be restricting or constraining but my experience actually was  ... that the pressure of having to conform to the pattern actually enabled me to start thinking creatively how I could best use it to my advantage ... it provided the box ... you know out of which, the 'think outside the box' saying ... you need a box first in order to think outside of it ...

- Interview with Booker Prize winner, Eleanor Catton on The Bat Segundo Show