Friday, January 28, 2011

Across the Back Field and Perspective

I have to say when it comes to writing, I'm somewhat of an adventurer. I can't help myself.

We each look out at the world and see things just a bit differently. That's why there are so many interesting ways one can approach storytelling. And the story changes, deepens, twists and turns and we interpret what our creative mind reveals to us.

My husband called me outside the other night to see the sky. There are moments that can't be put off. No matter what I was doing, it was a time to drop everything, which involved cooking dinner at the time, grab the camera and head outside. What each of us sees in that moment, be it me, my husband, my son (who is visiting us), or even our dog, Marley, is often vastly differing, even as writers approach an idea, a theme, a plot, we see things through a different lense. And, by the way, I didn't burn the dinner.

Some may see the broader picture--a panoramic landscape--and a novel will be born. Others will focus in on one object, one small glimmer of idea, one thought, that will blossom into a short story, a poem, a novella. Or maybe it will be the atmosphere--dark, light, stormy, calm--a color, a season, a time of day, a location...a memory, a mood. We all take something different away from the image of our mind's eye tempered by our individual thought processes. Maybe it's an impression, a reminder, a fear, a pleasure, a spark that infuses a creative idea.

Take time to meditate, to explore. Maybe it's not time to write the full story just at this hour, but catch the thoughts within the butterfly net, or a journal or notebook, maybe a computer program set up to capture ideas. Words that incite that feeling. Words to invoke the image. Take that picture in your mind, on the screen, on the paper, play with it, shape it and reshape it, stretch it and then stretch it again. Make it come alive in a way only you can do. Give it the flavor only you can give it. Step into your world and be prepared to absorb every corner of that world. Watch and listen and learn. For that space of time let it consume you. Don't let fear stop you from appreciating this new environment and those beings, vegetation, or other entities that populate it. This isn't the moment to think of style of writing, of publisher guidelines, of readers, of reviewers.

This is the moment to assimilate information, to allow stream of creativity to flow unbridled. This is that most exciting moment when a new world unfolds before your mind's eye--the storyteller's vision.

Perhaps your mind's eye isn't even seeing the landscape of this world that's right in front of you. Perhaps it's another place, another time, another dimension. Make what you will of it. Break down the boundaries, and let your imagination and creativity have it's way with you. There is a moment when you know you've passed that comfortable boundary, where you're in a new place and you've reached farther than before. When you might just think you're crazy, and you're absolutely certain you can't do this--you shouldn't do it. There's a tingling that starts low in your belly, an excitment tinged by fear. It slowly spreads.

That moment when you say to yourself, "I've never done this before, I can't do it. I shouldn't do it." That moment when all the rules you've learned, that have been hammered into you about the right way of doing it and the wrong way, try to force you back into conformity. And yet, in this moment, you turn your back and step into an amazing new reality. You've locked the editor away in a back room of your mind, pocketing the key until you need it. And you break free of the boundaries of constraint. This is the art of storytelling.

I must do it!

You are at that place when you've passed your safe borders, that minute when you reach for something more, outside your comfort zone, moving from shallow to deep waters. Because you're a writer and you must take that leap. This is the place of excitement, adventure of the mind, of imagination. This is where you were meant to go--as a writer, a storyteller, an artist, a photographer, an adventurer of life.

This is where you soar!

I have a habit of beginning research and discovery far ahead of the actual writing of a story. Sometimes it takes months, sometimes years for a story to achieve that certain temperature when I'll actually begin the writing. Until that moment I gather information, jot down notes about characters and story and just let things percolate. In my research for an upcoming story, I unearthed a National Geographic article titled "Kayaking the Amazon" by Piotr Chmielinski. Things to remember, not so different from writing.

"No one had done it before...Much of the area was unexplored and unmapped...We had to make a deal with the Amazon, to accept its power...We had to keep moving, to take that next step...For some it had been adventure enough...I pushed on..."
In approaching a new story idea how better or more exciting to come at it than from the mindset and perspective of an adventurer willing to risk all for a dream?

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

A New Year and Symbols

Last year seemed to fly by and now I'm scrambling to get ready for 2011. Being very fond of Brian Froud's artwork and often using and feeling particulary connected to "The Faeries' Oracle" cards created by Brian Froud and Jessica Macbeth, for Christmas I picked up the new "Heart of Faerie Oracle" cars by Brian and Wendy Froud.

To help me become more comfortable with the cards, I starting the year out by choosing one card each day.

Today's card happened to be #61, The Temptation which refers to enticement, wise choices. To me, that sort of means stop procrastinating.

"The Heart of Faerie Oracle" books suggested choosing a second card to help establish what the temptation might be with an eye toward being able to better deal with the situation. So, the second card I chose turned out to be "The Hero," #25. Strength, courage, unconditional love.

I found this interesting as just a few days ago, I did a yearly layout from "The Faeries' Oracle." In the first or twelfth position, depending on how you call it--instinct told the pull was meant to be read backwards--I pulled #4, He of the Fiery Sword. This card refers to action, will, movement, force, fire, illuminates truth, dispels non-truth.

I'm not sure where these symbols will lead me just yet, but I'm open to the signs and trusting my instincts.

I took a moment to pull out my symbol reference, or one of them at any rate )(An illustrated Encyclopaedia of Traditional Symbols by J.C. Cooper) and found a lot of info on the symbil of the sword.
"Power; protection; authority; royalty;leadership; justice; courage; strength; masculine principle, the active force, and is phallic with the sheat as the receptive feminine. On the metaphysical level the sword is symbolic of discrimination; the penetrating power of the intellect; spiritual decision; the inviolability of the sacred. It possesses supernatural powers, either on the earth, under the earth, or under the waters and is associated with giants and supernatural beings such as the Lady of the Lake; it is also wielded by the cosmic or solar Herom, conqueror of dragons and emonic powers..."

And on New Year's Day, just across the street from the house, a young eagle granted us with his presence and so I had to look up that symbol as well.

"Solar; the symbol of all sky gods; the meridan sun; the spiritual principle; ascension; inspiration; release from bondge; victory; pride; contemplation; apotheosis; royalty; authority; strength; height; the element of air. Thought to be able to fly up to the sun and gaze unwaveringly upon it and to identify with it, the eagle represents the spiritual principle in man which is able to soar heavenwards..."

I think it's going to be an interesting year. These seem to me to be some pretty powerful symbols. Guess I better keep my eyes open and my instincts honed.

I've added a new wallpaper to my computer just to remind me of the beauty and breathtaking imagery that's all around me.

The new year has just begun and already I have an additional two new story--no make that three new story ideas percolating. Going to be a good one I think!