Cultivating Interview 5
Given how little today’s audience is familiar with the term, why did you name this book Bandersnatch and not something more pragmatic?
Oh, those bandersnatches. Books on creativity should be creative, right? I wanted to capture the attention of out-of-the-box thinkers
In the very opening of the book you have two quotes that establish a point of reference yet neither really hint at what a Bandersnatch is. So what exactly is a “Bandersnatch” and what do you mean by it in connection to writing, collaboration, and community?
A bandersnatch is a mythical monster created by Lewis Carroll. It’s featured in a poem called “Jabberwocky,” found in the Alice in Wonderland stories. Carroll writes, “Beware the Jabberwock, my son! The jaws that bite, the claws that catch! Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun the frumious Bandersnatch!” Fans of the poem or readers who want to discover it can listen to Benedict Cumberbatch reading it here.
That’s where “bandersnatch” comes from; in this connection, I think of the bandersnatch as that grumpy, irritable, ferocious impulse that grips us sometimes and prompts us to try to tough it out and go it alone. We become frumious as a bandersnatch when someone tries to offer advice or lend a hand and instead of leaning in, we refuse. We hiss, we snarl and then withdraw.
The Inklings could be frumious, too, but, over time, they learned how to take creative risks together. They bounced ideas off each other, they read their works-in-progress to each other, they motivated each other and offered advice. They helped to promote each other to the larger world.
This question-and-answer is part of a larger interview conducted by Lancia Smith with Dr. Diana Glyer in January 2016 on “Cultivating the Good, the True, and the Beautiful.” To read the full interview and gain further insights into creative collaboration, click here.