Blitz Bazawule on Why Crop Rotation is the Perfect Metaphor For the Creative Mind
This Week on The Literary Life with Mitchell Kaplan
On today’s episode of The Literary Life, special guest host Ayana Gray is joined by Blitz Bazawule to discuss his debut novel, The Scent of Burnt Flowers, out now from Ballantine Books.
From the episode:
Blitz Bazawule: Listen, I believe strongly in the power of story. I believe that the world is shaped by story. And I believe that, you know, we should always endeavor to tell it because we need it. We should also try our best to be as open to whatever medium or media as possible.
Well, I know that’s a tough one for a lot of us. We lock into a medium and media and it kind of dominates our creative and we feel every creative impulse has to be driven through this prism. When I was young, I used to visit my grandmother’s farm up north [in Ghana], and the farm was a great experience for me because I got to learn about crop rotation, which I feel like if people don’t know about crop rotation, they need to get up on it because it’s one of the biggest metaphors for the creative mind in that, you know, when they plant vegetables one season that extracts so much from the soil, they have to reup and plant crops that can reintroduce a lot of nitrogen to the soil and rebuild the soil structure.
And that’s exactly how we are as creative beings. You know, when you create in one spot, it gets depleted. It’s just nature. And at some point you’re going to find yourself heaving because you’re digging through the same well and it’s running dry and it’s great if you try other things. You’ll be amazed at how good you are at other things, because as human beings we’re a multiplicity of things and we should always take advantage of the multiplicity, mainly because when you come back to the thing, you come back with new eyes, you come back with new a new appreciation for it. You’re ever fresh. You also stay away from the metrics. You’re unbothered by the metrics, because you know that you can turn around and move on to the next thing and you’re free.
Blitz Bazawule is a multidisciplinary artist born in Ghana. His feature directorial debut, The Burial of Kojo, premiered on Netflix via ARRAY Releasing. He co-directed Beyoncé’s Black Is King, which earned him a Grammy nomination. Bazawule is set to direct the musical version of The Color Purple for Warner Bros. His artwork has been featured at the Whitney Biennial. He is also a TED senior fellow and a Guggenheim fellow. The Scent of Burnt Flower is his debut novel.