Sköpunargleði

In a very special episode of Pondercast, Laurie Brown interviews Icelandic musician Ólafur Arnalds, bringing two of my favourite people together.

During their chat, Arnalds describes an Icelandic word, sköpunargleði, like this:

In Icelandic we actually have a beautiful word for this; I’ve been looking for it in English, but I don’t think it exists. There’s a word in Icelandic that is sköpunargleði. It’s a word for the feeling that you get when you are creating. It doesn’t mean creating. It means the feeling of creating. You could call it… the closest I’ve found in English… would be creative joy, the joy of creating.

But it’s not exactly joy. It’s a different feeling. There’s a creating feeling, which is just this feeling that you get when you somehow manage to forget about everything else than exactly what you’re creating.

This is sometimes called flow state; that’s one scientific method of explaining this.

But it’s this feeling you have when, suddenly, two, three, four hours have passed, and you just wake up. And you go “what just happened?”

And you created something.

That time in between was that creative joy, that flow state or, in Icelandic, sköpunargleði.

What an absolutely necessary word to describe a feeling I instantly recognized, one that I know and love and wish I could spend more time in.

Go listen to some of Arnalds’ music now.

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