Creativity: The Bull That Wouldn’t Die by Gordon Rothwell

Welcome to today’s guest post on creativity. Author and self proclaimed bullfight aficionado Gordon Rothwell will share his tips on creativity and how to “take the bull by the horns.” Enjoy!


Creativity is a crazy thing. It can be a bolt-out-of-the-blue thought that gets your juices flowing and your mind buzzing. Or a dream that keeps coming back over and over, haunting and possessing you.

When I was a “mad man” advertising creative director in Silicon Valley years ago, I got my best headline ideas in the shower with the hot water blasting the back of my neck. And I made sure I always had a pad and pen next to my bed.

Then there’s the idea that simply won’t go away. It lingers in the back of your mind and takes permanent residence there. So it was with my bullfight story.

It began back in 1940 when I was a little boy sitting mesmerized in a movie theatre watching Tyrone Power, in a glittering suit of lights, facing a bull with cape and sword. The theatre rang out with the cry of “Ole΄! Ole΄!” as Power taunted a beast and spun away time after time like a ballet dancer.

The film was Twentieth-Century-Fox’s “Blood and Sand.” It starred Power, Linda Darnell and a young Rita Hayworth. Anthony Quinn played a rival matador long before he actually started getting lead roles. .

With that movie I was hooked and became a lifelong bullfight aficionado.

As the years passed and I grew up in Seattle, Washington, I kept my interest in bullfighting, gathering most of my facts from the works of Ernest Hemingway. I majored in Journalism at the University of Washington.

I held a few minor editorial jobs before getting married. Soon after being wed, I was drafted into the Army and wound up serving in a former Gestapo headquarters in Orleans, France.

During my European tour of duty, my wife and I traveled to Spain and I saw my first bullfight in person in Barcelona. It was quite a thrill. Seeing an actual bullfight live was so much more exciting than seeing it portrayed in a film or reading a book about it.

Those images and thoughts about doing a bullfight story continued to pop up from time to time. But I didn’t pursue them. After I left the service, I held a number of positions in corporations. That eventually led me to Los Angeles where I created public relations material for the Apollo Moon Mission.

While at one of the aerospace plants I worked with a man who’d been special assistant to Dore Shary at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in Culver City. His name was Nat and he knew more about bullfighting than anyone I’d ever met. He and his wife often ventured south to Tijuana to see bullfights.

matador and bullIn 1960 Nat told me a major bullfight event was about to take place in Tijuana. Antonio Ordoñez, the Number One Matador in the world, was making first appearance outside Spain. Ordoñez had been featured in a three-part article in LIFE magazine written by Ernest Hemingway. The article told about a mano-a-mano duel between Ordoñez and Luis Dominguin, a darling of the press and Ava Gardner’s beau.

A group of us went to Tijuana. The experience was surreal. Especially the  partying at the Sierra Motel, where a mariachi band trumpeted out hot songs, and hot senoritas in tight leather pants and flat-brimmed sombreros clapped their hands and wriggled their behinds to the delight of a raucous gathering of movie stars and starlets.  Much of that scene made its way eventually into my short story, The Seventh Bull, just released by MuseItUp Publishing.

Over the years, I wrote two unproduced screenplays, Matadora and Even the Sea Must Die, weaving a lot of what I saw and experienced into my storyline. Not everything I’ve written about bullfighting has seen the light of day. But the vivid images stored in my brain percolated into words, demanding to be transformed into stories. I guess you could say this is about “The Bull That Wouldn’t Die.” My bullfight experiences have been rattling around in my head for over 70 years. Who would have thought it.

As I said, creativity is a crazy thing. Don’t ignore that germ of an idea. Nurture it. Give it time.  Let it grow. Who knows? You might just have a Pulitzer Prize story, or the next blockbuster book headed for the top of the bestseller list.

Take the bull by the horns! Listen to those inner voices. They might be saying something well worth listening to.


Gordon Rothwell was born in Seattle, Washington and got his BA in Journalism from the University of Washington. He’s been an advertising exec, sportswriter and screenwriter.  His ad work received a CLIO (an Oscar in the advertising). And his screenplays have been finalists in prominent contests. He’s published stories in numerous men’s magazines, as well as YA material in such publications as BOY’S LIFE.

Find out more about Gordon’s books here:

Muse It Up Publishing-


Barnes & Noble  [for Nook]-


KOBO Books-


Book Strand-

You may also like...

  • Jocelyn Kelly says:

    Inspiring post, Gordon. Bullfighting and writing are definitely both passions of yours. I’m glad that Beth had you guest post today. This was a treat to read.

  • Wendy L says:

    I bought this story for my 89 yr old aunty who is in hospital with a broken hip. Gordon, you might like to know she thoroughly enjoyed The Seventh Bull and wished it was longer. 🙂 I thoroughly enjoyed it too.

  • Kari Young says:

    There’s something hyper-masculine and romantic about bullfights. I can’t wait to read your story.

  • >