A few things you should know about Aimee Mann: She boxes. Comedians and twelve step programs are her great inspiration. While her songs might lead you to believe otherwise, Aimee Mann isn’t sad. She guest-starred as a cleaning lady on Portlandia. The word brain came out of her mouth 19 times during our conversation at Q Division studios in Somerville. She is 51.
Q: So, I think you know that I want to talk to you about creativity and aging.
A: Aging. That word aging seems to have certain connotations.
Q: I know.
A: Aging sort of implies decay.
Q: Right, and that’s real. Our bodies are going to break down and die. But we can also think and talk about aging in terms of the passage of time.
A: Yeah it’s interesting because I feel like it does sort of have two meanings. I would say my relationship to what I do has changed over time, but only in a positive way, you know? Like, really in a positive way.
Q: Tell me about that.
A: I think that two things happen as you do something a lot. One, your brain becomes acclimated to the specific kinds of tasks that you ask it to perform and begins to perform them more automatically for you. And the second is that you learn how to make smarter choices and shortcuts, so that you’re more efficient. I almost feel like it’s exponentially easier and more efficient to be creative, because a lot of creativity is generating ideas and then stepping back – well, this is how it works for me — generating ideas and then stepping back and being objective and editing your ideas. For me this task would be thinking of the thing you want to say and arranging it in a form that rhymes. That would be one big task that I require of my brain. And if your brain is closer to doing that automatically, then you’re already ahead of the game.