Book Review: The Creative Fire

Estes, Clarissa Pinkola. The Creative Fire. New York, NY: HarperCollins, 2001.

Clarissa guides us through the dark labyrinths of the psyche in search of la chispa-the ember that is the elemental source of all creative work. Learn about the hidden aspects of creativity, including the negative complexes that prey upon our energy, as you discover an abundance of insights to spark the creative fire in you. discover an abundance of insights to spark the creative fire in you.

This is only available as an audiobook, which was actually a good thing because had I read it myself, I would have missed out on Dr. Estes’ amazing storytelling voice, which greatly enhanced the stories themselves. I heard about this shortly before I began The Artist’s Way, and listened to it a few months ago. I will definitely listen again some time.

The Creative Fire was a perfect companion to TAW because it talks about some of the same things. One such topic is lack of creation. Julia Cameron says that a lack of creation means that the artist’s well has run dry, and the artist needs to “refill the well.” Dr. Estes points to the Persephone and Demeter mythology, agreeing with Cameron that cycles of productivity and rest are natural, and even encouraged. She tells the story of the myth and analyzes every aspect of it, relating each one to the creative cycle. I learned from both women that instead of feeling bad about periods of rest from creation, I should see it as a chance to recharge my batteries and prepare for the intensely creative time that will follow if I allow myself to be open to it.

Estes goes through several different stories, using each one to teach ways to break out of creative blockages, and about the creative cycle, and about ways that people either nurture or are consumed by the creative fire within. I highly recommend this to anyone who is struggling to understand their creativity, or who thinks they are not creative, or who is working through TAW and would like some more insight to supplement what they are learning in the course. And at just about 3 hours long, in 3 parts, it’s not very long at all — though I do suggest you take some time to digest in between, as there are a lot of juicy bits here.