The gut churn…on being creative


Sometimes it’s nice to go into a keynote and not know anything about the person. I did it with G Willow Wilson, and then I did it the next day with Jad Abumrad. @JadAbumrad is part of a team that produces RadioLab. RadioLab is described on their website as “… a show about curiosity. Where sound illuminates ideas, and the boundaries blur between science, philosophy, and human experience”.

Digression: A little surprising that I hadn’t heard of RadioLab as I love podcasts so much…just as a complete aside…my current podcast subscriptions are:

  • The Lapse (true stories gussied up). Dubbed ‘The Moth meets RadioLab’
  • RadioLab – I subscribed the day of the Jad keynote
  • Blueprint for living – ABC RN
  • 99% Invisible – design Roman Mars
  • Here’s the thing- with Alec Baldwin
  • Invisibilia – ideas, beliefs, assumptions, emotions
  • Boston Calling – how the world is changing America. BBC World Service
  • Rear Vision
  • Serial
  • In our time with Melvyn Bragg
  • Background Briefing
  • Future tense
  • Love + Radio- from the seedy to the sublime…
  • The Moth podcast
  • Snap Judgement
  • Pop Culture Happy Hour
  • BBC Documentary of the week
  • All in the mind
  • Friday night comedy from BBC
  • Documentaries form BBC World Service
  • The film programme
  • This American Life
  • Health report
  • 360 Documentaries
  • The Body sphere
  • Sunday extra
  • All songs considered
  • Desert Island Discs with Kirsty Young
  • Books and Arts daily

…Of course don’t panic- I never listen to everything there. How could I possibly? But they are there, and I just love my podcast time.

But back to the keynote. Keynote speakers are all about the stories…Jad started by saying that he wanted to talk about what it feels like to walk through uncertain spaces, the gut churn. He recorded his stomach churning on RadioLab deadline day…

How do you fill that emptiness?

Find your authentic voice?

What does it mean to speak in your own voice??

Ira Glass (This American Life) calls it ‘the gap’, Jad – the gut churn.

Ira Glass , on being creative…

How do you keep moving through the gap?

Jad gave some ideas…

1/ chase the antelope (story of a guy who wanted to know if he could chase down an antelope. He chased antelopes for 12 years!)

ask questions

allow the question to possess you

‘be the question’ – Rilke

2/ follow the odds

Put odds on. Jad talked about only 1 in 6/10/15 story ideas ever come to anything… “every story is trying really hard to suck”

3/ adjacent possible

“The potential (and serendipity) created when you notice and connect the unlikely”- from

I am a big fan of serendipity!

The moments before the epiphanies are bad moments, embrace the bad, the gut churn. (insert Wagner opera story here of the German forest)

I liked his final point- in walking through periods of doubt…walk with someone.

The humanist, imperfect person that I am loved that!!

Walk with someone.

‘Walk with someone and that gut churn is OK’…my words.

I googled Jad and there is this 20 minute talk from Jad about ‘why gut churn is an essential part of the creative process’… see and the video below

One Response to “The gut churn…on being creative”

  1. I also love the NPR TED radio hour podcast. Beautifully curated.

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