Any Activity Becomes Creative When the Doer Cares About Doing It Right Or Better

John Updike? Apocryphal?

Dear Quote Investigator: Exalted activities such as composing a symphony or devising an invention clearly enable the maker to express creativity. Refreshingly, the prominent writer John Updike contended that even quotidian activities allowed for creativity if the doer cared enough to excel. Would you please help me to find a citation?

Quote Investigator: In 1968 “Playboy” magazine contacted several well-known writers and asked each one to compose a short piece about creativity. The group included John Updike, Arthur Miller, Le Roi Jones (Amiri Baraka), and James T. Farrell. Updike propounded an expansive notion of creativity. Boldface added to excepts by QI: 1

For one thing, creativity is merely a plus name for regular activity; the ditchdigger, dentist and artist go about their tasks in much the same way, and any activity becomes creative when the doer cares about doing it right, or better.

Below are additional selected citations in chronological order.

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Notes:

  1. 1968 December, Playboy, Volume 15, Number 12, On Creativity – Symposium, John Updike, Start Page 136, Quote Page 139, Column 3, HMH Publishing Company, Chicago, Illinois. (Verified with scans)