Saturday, August 18, 2012

The Search for the Muse - Courting Inspiration

Like the tides of oceans, inspiration arrives, then recedes.

What can be done to maximize the fruitful times, when this blessed wave of inspiration lands and it makes you feel as though it has never been any other way? Perhaps the first step is to acknowledge the existence of such an illumed state.

To sustain me through the difficult periods, I will be able to rely on what Hans K√ľng calls an “enlightened trust.” My faith in the existence of such an illuminated place is what permits it to return. I have chosen to accept that this cyclical cycle is not designed as some punishment for my not having accorded it the proper respect or for some other moral misstep I may have committed. Instead, I chose to see this grace arriving, as needed.

Is there a way for us, as writers eager to work regularly, to avoid what can only be called “a barren vacuum” of inspiration? I am certain we all experience it -- those times when we are motivated to capture some inspired work yet when we sit down to do so, our creative imagination appears to have taken some temporary leave.

We are like magicians dashing our hands into our top hats and finding there is no rabbit to pull out. Or worse -- the rabbit bites back.

In determining a relationship built upon respecting this informing force, I chose to believe it is intermittent. When inspiration strikes, I am prepared to receive it and so have constructed a system which accomplishes this effectively.

One of the objectives of writing this blog is to discover and hopefully discuss with others, this phenomena. It is this exploration that shall keep me out of the realms of superstition or fanaticism.

How can we come to better understand the conditions of our creative vitality? In these times, when our imagination has been freed and the mind is alert enough to be able to capture passionately what is being expressed, how may I better assist this miraculous exchange?

It is a goal of mine, as a writer, to live in respectful conformity with these more fruitful conditions and to remain free from a sense of entitlement that will render me expectant and disgruntled when the imagination recedes.

In the harmonization of these elements, I believe the truth will lie.

{Artwork by Yayoi Kusama}

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Broken Telephone

We writers cannot create in the style that surfaces from a circle of people creating a story by adding a new sentence each time the game revolves around to a new player. This is non-sequitous and uneven -- the thread of the narrative frays instantly and in no time the exercise becomes incoherent.

Writing is a conditioned occupation. One can hardly expect to be a lucid writer if words are not sequenced together in a conscious attempt at communicating something. Perhaps a message or an image; an instance.

A good writer must also be an avid reader. Part of our conditioning is establishing that place in our imaginations where intention transforms into language. I cannot imagine being able to do this on my own, in the dreaded “vacuum.” Without the generous works of others who have attempted the same feat, I know I would fail. This input is what tunes the machine.

A writer is also someone who has taken initiative to understand the process in their own mind. The various components of thought -- language, symbol, image, emotion, memory -- all of these take a different form in the interior landscape and so serve a different function within the plane of imagination. Each plays differently on the screen and it takes some degree of conditioning to learn to decode the images and discover what is being communicated, either in essence or in total.

How deeply we wish to probe into the mystery of writing will ebb and flow with the faith that corresponds to our present ability. When the work flows, like a gambler on a wining streak, I never wish to jinx that process by stopping to ask questions. When the mind struggles and the work falls short, it is then I begin to wonder.

Once the conditioning begins to take place, it demands an obedience from those it guides. It becomes essential to put into practice what has been revealed. A well cannot refill if it is never emptied and the act of creating does not appear to be different to this principle.

A writer must be able to trust their own memory. This is not the same as the recall of an eye witness but appears to be more akin to the recollection of someone who is re-creating an event to entertain a listener. As something actually happened  becomes the seed for the narrative, which is then transformed in the mechanics of imagination.

In this endeavour to educate the imagination, I shall first attempt to isolate and then explore the various influences which are capable of accomplishing this task.

{Artwork by Eduardo Berliner}

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Some Mechanics

The discovery that I write for a deeper way of relating to the world around me should come as no surprise to those who follow the same pursuit. We experience something and we find ourselves working that experience through the mechanics of imagination, in the hope of finding it converted into some usable material for our portfolio. This is the process.

I am loathe to wallow in what often feels like narcissistic navel-gazing, but I also do not wish to proceed without making at least a preliminary effort at defining at what it means to be a writer.

To write something fictitious does not feel like I am trafficking in frivolous lies but am instead trying to render something back from the word of illusion. This created world relates.

Writing is an action which occurs in flux. It is rarely satisfied and appears to sustain itself upon the understanding that it must be accomplishing itself. It exists within this relationship, the place between imagination and page. I am never more concerned than when I think in terms of total satisfaction. The striving creates the engine for another attempt -- another pass through the gears of my mind in the bright hope that what is captured will be even more lucid than what existed before.

The most fertile distinction imaginable is writer as creator. Why should we not mirror the practises of Nature and create as our world dictates? The rules exists but should be ignored.

Being a writer implies that one has a sense of how to integrate. How else could we create a compelling narrative without this function? How is it possible to edit without some authority on what to include and possibly more pertinent, what to reserve?

As a musician works within the rules of harmony, tonal calculations which are specific and exact, so must a writer have some sense of what fits and what will prove to be discordant to the attentive reader.

An effective storyteller is someone who has learned to control potentialities in a dimension of creative freedom. The task of mastering how to direct one’s imagination, leaving it unsupervised, as it were, is to my understanding something that would come easily to a writer who has the potential of holding the readers attention. This is what separates passable fiction from distracted whimsy.

{Artwork by Zeng Fanzhi}