They do say if you want to write, read.
Read, read — and then read some more.
All sorts, but especially stuff that might inspire.
Unlock your ingenuity. Call your intuition out to play.
Have you pottering in the garden of your own imagination.
And indeed, when something I read does resonate with me, or connect with me, it does make me want to do a little gardening myself.
Not just weeding, cutting back or planting.
I want to capture that honey bee humming through the fuchsia, pollinating as he goes, or become that spiralling butterfly feeding on the nectar in yon wilting agapanthus.
My span is limited but I’m not thinking about that as I flit and hop wherever I please.
My words are fluttering on this computerised page now, but I am still uncovering infinite variation in leaf and petal.
And feeling part of the garden’s eco-system, part of life itself.
For a system it is, and for me, it all connects.
We are all connected.
When I was younger I think I mistook creativity for daydreaming.
Flights of fantasy to nowhere.
Maybe I was encouraged/discouraged to do so.
Little did I know I was exploring the world in my own idiom.
Enjoying books and movies for themselves, but also as jump leads that jolted my own creative battery to life.
Only I never wrote any of that down.
But do you remember how easily this kind of stuff came to us as children?
Fun and achievement were indivisible when we learned to write:
“The cat sat on the mat …”
But we really squealed in furtive delight when we scribbled in the margins:
“And a fat bat sat on the cat, and he went splat, and that’s that … “
Still obeying the rules — we had to find words that rhymed with cat after all, but that was actually part of the fun, because it’s how our minds actually work … we need limits to contemplate infinity, just as we are driven to make connections, recognise patterns, compare things … and it’s why metaphors are the very building blocks of our imagination.
Connecting things, and us.
Turning random thoughts and sensations into an eco-system
Everything reminds us of something else.
It’s how dreams work, how our mind works.
It’s like we just connect into a conversation that has already begun.
Maybe has even been going on forever.
And we are part of the collective unconscious, as Jung would have it.
Maybe just another name for eco-system …
The interconnectedness of things …
And it’s why art connects with other art, and with us and sets our imaginations dancing.
And why you are lying on the couch listening to Dark Side Of The Moon, and you are adrift on far off memories, you’re thinking about sanity and insanity, wondering how old Roger Waters is now, and is he happier, and you’re composing the first line of your next blog piece:
“They do say if you want to write, read”.
And it’s why I am still not finished banging on about I Capture The Castle.
Which I finally finished.
But it will never end for me.
Just as narrator Cassandra differentiates between stories with brick-wall happy endings and your interest in the characters ceases immediately you read the last line, and those precious works that are hypertext links in an endless communication.
Sometimes reading a particular book, or perusing a piece of art, or encountering someone significant, is so serendipitous it veers into the uncanny …
It’s almost like they are answers to a puzzle clue, waiting for you at just the point where you need them …
So it is with ICTC, which has worked for me on so many levels.
Dodie Smith/Cassandra are writers, and the book is also brilliant on the creative process itself, indeed the very title of the book — which captured my imagination and made me want to buy it even before I knew what it was about — comes from the idea of capturing, or rendering the beauty or things like the titular castle on a page as best one can.
The actual creative process is also what Cassandra’s father has been pondering, and fears will continue to elude him.
As Simon tells Cassandra, her father sees creation as discovery … everything has been created already …
“I mean everything is already created, by the first cause — call it God, if you like; everything is already there to be found,” he tells her
And art, after all, he says, can state very little: “Its whole business is to evoke responses”.
According to Simon’s interpretation of the thoughts and motivations of Cassandra’s dad, we are all on a progressive, cumulative search for meaning … derived from eternal curiosity about our origin.
And it’s why, he says, we deal in metaphor, as we strive to capture the complexity of our existence.
Reaching for better and better metaphors to capture the beauty and mystery of creation.
It is all a function of wondering how was the universe created, and what happens next.
How a creator actually creates, is personal.
Furthermore, unless one innovates and explores, the whole process becomes stagnant.
There is no creation. Only repetition.
Just as metaphors must continually innovate or become cliches.
Or maybe I just read that somewhere …
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