The Age Of Creativity

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01Colin Shindler2011030720120604

This week Radio 3's The Essay explores the way ageing affects creative artists. Five writers, composers and poets, look back at their creative lives and measure the benefits of wisdom against the grim reality of mortality.

We begin today with the reflections of the ever youthful screenwriter Colin Shindler.

Also in the series: Composer Francis Pott, crime writer Frances Fyfield and poet Maureen Duffy.

02Tess Jaray2011030820120605
20120605 (R3)

Tess Jaray is an abstract painter who studied at St Martin's School of Art and the Slade School of Art, where she later taught for many years.

In this essay she explores how her experience of ageing has affected her creativity.

She is an abstract painter who began working with pavement patterns in public spaces and urban centres in the 1980's.

Her artistic concerns for colour, pattern and rhythm were combined with a new awareness of the possibilities of pavement designs to create a sense of place.

In her essay she explores the changes in attitude and outlook that an artist experiences as they age, from the excitement of youth to the acceptance - or not - of middle and old age.

While Tolstoy may have needed to be continually in love to keep his creativity going, for others that eternal search for creative energy make come simply from a bird on a window sill.

Abstract painter Tess Jaray explores the effect of the ageing process on her creativity.

Tess Jaray is an abstract painter who studied at St Martin's School of Art and the Slade School of Art, where she later taught for many years. In this essay she explores how her experience of ageing has affected her creativity.

She is an abstract painter who began working with pavement patterns in public spaces and urban centres in the 1980's. Her artistic concerns for colour, pattern and rhythm were combined with a new awareness of the possibilities of pavement designs to create a sense of place.

In her essay she explores the changes in attitude and outlook that an artist experiences as they age, from the excitement of youth to the acceptance - or not - of middle and old age. While Tolstoy may have needed to be continually in love to keep his creativity going, for others that eternal search for creative energy make come simply from a bird on a window sill.

03Frances Fyfield2011030920120606
20120606 (R3)

For all the wisdom, self-awareness, caution and craft that comes with many years as a writer, Silver Dagger award winner Frances Fyfield finds it is another quality altogether that has matured with her; procrastination. Where once she was quick off the mark, keen to hunch over the typewriter or writing pad, now she finds a thousand natural excuses for not getting on with it. A story that once had to be told can now wait until deadline doomsday's clock reaches a minute before midnight.

Frances struggles for the positives as she looks back contemplatively at her creativity.

For all the wisdom, self-awareness, caution and craft that comes with many years as a writer, Silver Dagger award winner Frances Fyfield finds it is another quality altogether that has matured with her; procrastination.

Where once she was quick off the mark, keen to hunch over the typewriter or writing pad, now she finds a thousand natural excuses for not getting on with it.

A story that once had to be told can now wait until deadline doomsday's clock reaches a minute before midnight.

Crime writer Frances Fyfield explores the way the ageing process affects creative artists.

04Maureen Duffy2011031020120607
20120607 (R3)

Playwright, poet and novelist Maureen Duffy explores the effects of ageing on creativity. Maureen Duffy was born in Worthing, Sussex in 1933. After a tough childhood she took a degree in English from King's College London and then became a schoolteacher from 1956 to 1961. In 1962 she published her first novel, That's How It Was, to immediate acclaim. Her first openly lesbian novel was 'The Microcosm' in 1966, set in the famous lesbian Gateways club in London.

She is said to have been Britain's first lesbian to 'come out' in public, and made public comments during the debates around homosexual law reform. In 1977 she published The Ballad of the Blasphemy Trial, a broadside against the trial of the Gay News newspaper for blasphemous libel.

She is also a celebrated playwright and poet, and has written biography and other non-fiction. She is co-founder of the Writers' Action Group, Vice-President of the European Writers' Congress, and a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.

Playwright, poet and novelist Maureen Duffy explores the effects of ageing on creativity.

Maureen Duffy was born in Worthing, Sussex in 1933.

After a tough childhood she took a degree in English from King's College London and then became a schoolteacher from 1956 to 1961.

In 1962 she published her first novel, That's How It Was, to immediate acclaim.

Her first openly lesbian novel was 'The Microcosm' in 1966, set in the famous lesbian Gateways club in London.

She is said to have been Britain's first lesbian to 'come out' in public, and made public comments during the debates around homosexual law reform.

In 1977 she published The Ballad of the Blasphemy Trial, a broadside against the trial of the Gay News newspaper for blasphemous libel.

She is also a celebrated playwright and poet, and has written biography and other non-fiction.

She is co-founder of the Writers' Action Group, Vice-President of the European Writers' Congress, and a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.

Writer Maureen Duffy explores the effect the ageing process has had on her creativity.

05 LASTFrancis Pott2011031120120608
20120608 (R3)

Western classical music is notorious for its collection of brilliant but short lived composers. Bizet, Mozart, Schubert; they left a staggering legacy in their little span. But ageing matters profoundly to Francis Pott, not least because the passion for his music must wrestle endlessly with the mechanics of his life as a loving father.

Although a well recognised figure amongst British composing talent with pieces like 'A Cloud of Unknowing' enhancing his reputation for a fiercely individual sound and uncompromising approach to his work, Francis has never enjoyed the luxury of time and space. So will age weary or continue to nurture his creative spirit?

Western classical music is notorious for its collection of brilliant but short lived composers.

Bizet, Mozart, Schubert; they left a staggering legacy in their little span.

But ageing matters profoundly to Francis Pott, not least because the passion for his music must wrestle endlessly with the mechanics of his life as a loving father.

Although a well recognised figure amongst British composing talent with pieces like 'A Cloud of Unknowing' enhancing his reputation for a fiercely individual sound and uncompromising approach to his work, Francis has never enjoyed the luxury of time and space.

So will age weary or continue to nurture his creative spirit?

Composer Francis Pott explores the effect of the ageing process on creative artists.