Saturday, June 28, 2008

Real imagination

At this point, the story is really close, close enough to see bits and pieces like images through a gauzy curtain. I love this stage, because it's so very much like real magic. Time for more stewing, and waiting for the story to form a little more before I try peeking through the curtain just yet.

It's when we say something like the above that we find out who really understands us. It's the paragraph I left off with last night in the Google document where I'm attempting to journalize my writing process on the story I've assigned myself for the third quarter of the Writers of the Future contest. The link is over there on the right, just above the writing progress meters, if you're interested in following along or just skimming a little here and there. I somehow doubt it'll be too amusing to anyone but me, but who knows--fellow writers (granted, those much more established than I am) have allowed me to peek into their world, and it's provided helpful suggestions, inspiration, and reassurance to me. (I'm not alone in this quirky writer's world--unique, maybe, as we all are, but most certainly not alone.)

In my ongoing quest for greater spiritual understanding of myself and the world around me, I've come to the conclusion that something doesn't have to be tangible in order to be real. And really, is that such a startling conclusion? We can't see or touch things like wind or electricity, although they leave physical evidence of their existence. But then, what are stories but evidence of the existence of the thing we call imagination? I envision a great pool or stream of whatever energy it is that flows into us and allows us to create imaginary worlds and people and happenings, with each of us tapped into it in some way or another. If we reach into that flow often enough, we grow more practiced in seeing what it has to show us, hearing what it has to tell us. It communicates to us through our individual life experiences and viewpoints, because that is the language we can understand. We learn how to shape that energy into a story or a painting or a song (or maybe even a religion or a lifestyle or a career choice) in whatever shape we're capable of that seems truest to what that energy intends to communicate. We can never communicate it perfectly, because by necessity it's limited to our words and ability, and we are not perfect. We draw on a vast pool of imaginative energy, shape it into something that did not exist physically before, and by sharing that physical form with others, allow that energy to be passed along to them.

And if that isn't damn close to being truly magical, then I don't know what is.

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