Showing and Telling

sprinklers
A Summer Prelude

More than likely, every single one of you reading this is a writer or has been a writer at some point. As such, it is likely that every single one of you has heard the advice: “show don’t tell.”

But here is my thought for today… showing is a photograph. Showing is a painting or a movie or another visual art form.

Writing, though, is for getting into the brain. In no other median can an idea or thought be represented so clearly, so absolutely. Sure, there are language barriers… the very idea of loss of meaning between writer and reader… but there is a pureness that is allowed in this form of communication that is not quite has well represented in the visual forms.

I have always loved taking photographs. There is a way that I can capture sunlight colored through a sprinkler’s rain that I cannot quite catch merely with words.

But I can tell you with my words what I was thinking when I took the photograph. I can tell you of the feeling of joy, a kind of heated pressure in my chest to see the sprinkler in the sun. I can tell you how I felt an anticipation for summer mixed with a little bit of wonder as my five-year-old ran through that freezing cold water.

I am able to describe how my contentment felt like a warm blanket of sunshine on my shoulders; and how during those moments I knelt on the wet grass, moisture seeping through the knees of my jeans, lightness permeated the air and happy floated by.

That is power, my friends.

That is beauty.

Creative Cult

tree
The Tree

Where does your creativity come from? What inspires you to write, dance, paint, or play music? What is that spark, and how does it come to be?

Last Sunday, I participated in a Shamanic journey. The facilitator — a wonderful woman with a light soul — explained that she cannot schedule these journeys on a regular basis because she has to wait until she, herself, is inspired to take the journey. Once undergoing the journey herself, she in turn schedules the same journey to facilitate for others.

Inspiration. Where does it come from?

Through my many years (past years) of writing, the overwhelming consensus of published writers offering their advice, is that inspiration is a myth; or rather, the need to be inspired before creating is a myth. Through hard work, due diligence, etc. etc. creativity will flow and there is no need for this slacker’s excuse of inspiration.

I get why published authors push the inspiration bullshit line. I really do. Most writers barely write because they are waiting for that divine moment, and that is a no good state of affairs. One must write if one wants to be a writer.

I wonder though.

Obviously, in my past I wrote even when inspiration was but a flicker. I am not talking about the non-fictional writing I did as a journalist (which is often times lacking any sort of anything resembling inspirational); rather, the fiction that I delved into and explored.

Between the time I graduated college and today, I have written six complete novels. I’ll also throw in the novel-length fanfiction I did back when HP fanfiction was The Thing To Do.

Seven then, seven complete novels.

Of those, I would say there were hints of inspiration in all of them. Even the romance book I wrote in an attempt to “f*cking get anything published for f*cks sake,” had a bit of inspiration to its story line.

I am not going to go in to the whole FAILING MISERABLY thing… but, it does make me wonder about the creative process and being inspired. There is writing and there is Writing… just as there is music, and then there is Music.

Etc. Etc.

Is inspiration the defining line between the two?

Back to my Shamanic journey. For many, these journeys are powerful and can be life-altering. Me, myself, I always feel like what happens is 80 percent bullocks and 20 percent of something True. But that my is my logical self talking, and my logical self really dislikes anything mythical (though, adversely, understands the deep importance of Myth).

However, for many, these journeys are religious in context and in importance. Is it true and right that my facilitator waits until she is inspired… I think so, actually. But then, it makes me wonder if art (and as a consequence, the influence of art), should also be contingent on inspiration.

I don’t know, obviously, just a thought for today.

What do you think?