“Leave Blood On the Ground” – What Skateboarding Can Teach Us About the Creative Process …*

"Leave Blood On the Ground” - What Skateboarding Can Teach Us About the Creative Process ...* |rethinked.org - Photo: Elsa Fridman

“I believe that if you aren’t getting bloody somehow in your work, whether opening a psychic wound, closing one, disinfecting one, or just plain jamming your finger into one to see what happens, then it’s doubtful the work will be worth anyone else’s time.”

I discovered the quote above in an article in which author and professional skateboarder, Michael Christie, reflects upon Five Ways Being a Writer and Professional Skateboarder Are the Same. A core principle of our team is this notion of transfer or translation, of taking insights from one field and applying them to another. Christie’s reflections on the similarities between skateboarding and writing do a glorious job of highlighting the depth and richness of understanding that may be gained by transferring insights from one area to another. This quote is taken from his fifth point, that both (great) skateboarding and writing (or any other creative pursuit) should leave blood on the ground.

“There must be some kind of stakes for the writer, personally — whether they’re explicit in the book or not it doesn’t matter. Writing ought to be, at least on some level, potentially injurious. Like in skateboarding, there is always a razor-thin line between catastrophe and triumph, between falling and staying up, between bad writing and great writing, between a brilliant book and a terrible one, and I think writers ought to try to tightrope walk that line.

In both skateboarding and literature, there is that sublime moment when someone pulls something off that is clearly at the very outer limits of their ability, that is even perhaps beyond their ability, but yet it somehow worked out anyway — and this is where the true magic happens. Art is risk. That’s why it captivates us. And if a writer taking this risk has left a little (metaphorical!) blood on the ground, then all the better for those watching. The spatter is how we know they meant it.” – Michael Christie

transfer, rethink, create …*

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