Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Art of Imagining

I have read many remarks by writers who tell us that writing, or more specifically, the act of creating, is a process of discovery. They write without a map and trust so completely in this intuitive process that no decision as to the direction the narrative will take is made in advance. Played by ear this way, the process of writing becomes like walking along a road that appears below your feet upon each new step.

Other writers assume the role of cartographer and carefully map each section, knowing in advance what they plan to include in their story. They block-out the action, grid the rise and fall of the narrative and have already determined central plot points. It is formulated and followed exactly.

When the writing is flowing and surprising us, there is a sense of exhilarated delight that becomes the energising vehicle for continuing. When things are not going so swimmingly, the act of writing can be difficult; a drudge through of woods of disjointed sentences and half-remembered notions. It is my wish to reach a place of method where I can balance these extremes. Is it possible to reserve creative energy for this leaner time and then apply it as is needed?

Another way of phrasing this might be to say that the treasure I am seeking is not entirely dependent on the finished product, the words mined for the page but the method through which they have been procured. When I operate from this sequence, the act of writing begins to take on what might be described as an “automatic function.” It is this grace I wish to cultivate going forward.

It is at this time I feel most alert but also the most comfortable. I am capable, emotionally speaking, of riding the currents of this inspiration which seem to flow from an activated imagination.

I feel fulfilled and serene.

There is a fascination in de-constructing the act of writing and this is to be one of the focuses of this blog. What happens to us when our imagination becomes fully engaged and we are capable of translating what plays out on the screen of our imaginative mind into clear language? Can this be accomplished at will? Are there methods to assist in this phenomena? What are they? Do they come at a price to our overall mental health? Is living in the isolated world of creativity preferable to seeking regular input and stimulation?

Another aim of this blog is to commit to an exploration of what it means to be in possession of a practical sense of intuition. This seems to dove-tail lovingly with the concept of an educated imagination. Both of these are non-rational functions of the mind, when working together, serve as the engine for our creative voice.

In mastering this union, it is my belief that we move on to cultivate a relationship with our muse, that ineffable spirit of inspiration, who both illuminates and delivers. Perhaps most importantly, in being aware of this relationship, we are better placed in a position to accord it the tender respect it deserves.

We become aware of these relationships, but then are free to let them go. In this surrender, the effort we have invested to understand the working of imagination tends toward a confidence that the experience of writing is both lucid and manageable.

{Paintings by Wilfred Lang}

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