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Она творила все, что ей вздумается.

{vs}: Она делала все, что ей вздумается.

I wonder if the verb "творить" in the sense of "do X" always carries a negative connotation. Is it close to "commit (a faux pas)" in a negative sense?

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  • Unless there is a context that defines the positive nature or result of "творить", yes, it is negative by default.
    – Alexander
    May 18 '18 at 17:43
  • @Alexander I wonder if "вздуматься" as well as "вздумать + infinitive" lean towards a negative sense, implying irresponsibility, recklessness, randomness etc. May 18 '18 at 18:14
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    yes, "вздумать" usually associated with a thoughtless process :)
    – Alexander
    May 18 '18 at 18:19
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No, not always - it's a matter of context. There are quite positive expressions like творить добро and творить чудеса. But here are prefixed versions of the verb which always (if not ironically/idiomatically used) carry negative sense: натворить (perfective) and вытворять (imperfective). The second mentioned verb is often used to informally describe one's positive impression from circus tricks or actions of a player in some game.

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The verb "творить" was "always" having as one of the meanings "to make mischief", with perfective "натворить" rather restricted to that use, and both forms were generally used when referring to children's (or pets') behaviour.

These days, there's a street use "ты что творишь?!" meaning approx. "what are you doing?? (you are doing wrong, stop it)".

Mind you, like other guys said already, "что вздумается" bears a light connotation of wantonness ("anything one's left foot wants").

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Not "commit" but "wreak", as in "wreak havoc", with the same tendency (perhaps less pronounced) to be tied to set expressions. To "commit" would be допустить or совершить; the latter sounds graver, and is exclusively used to talk about "committing" evil or criminal acts rather than mere blunders.

As @Alex_ander pointed out, there's an opposite and more literary usage of творить that carries a Biblical kind of loftiness. I remember being baffled by it as a child; it sounded to me like that solemn voice on the radio was praising someone for making mischief.

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Indeed, in cases where творить is a synonym of делать it has negative connotation. Unlike faux pas as far as i understand it творить usually denotes an intense deliberate activity. But sometimes it does get applied to denote a genuine faux pas by way of hyperbolization.

Phrases Что ты наделала? and Что ты натворила? which express dismay and dread at what a person has done are synonymous.
Incidentally the use of творить in the perfective aspect натворить could serve as the above mentioned hyperbolization of a trivial blunder.

In some contexts the word's negative connotation happens to be co-opted to express approval of such negativity.

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The word "творить" is used in Russian Bible translation in context of God performing miracles and creating the world. In case people relate the word to this context (like чудотворец творит чудеса) it is neutral or even positive. A particularly common positive use is in context of art, where "творец творит искуство" is a strong compliment of a great artist. But whenever creativity and innovation are undesirable, the word bears strong negative connotation, because it implies innovation where it should not be and thus making a mess.

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