Thursday, September 21, 2006

The sky knows the reasons

I am very lucky with my commentors, if that is the right (made-up) word. Apologies to all those who have complained that they have not been able to post, this was my fault, and I have removed the need for you to be a member of Blogger to leave a post.

Anonymous number 2 on yesterday's blog (you know who you are - well, of course you do, actually, but what I mean is that I know who you are, too!) has got me thinking about the nature of inspiration. He quotes:

"A cloud does not know why it moves in just such a direction and at such a speed.It feels an implusion ...this is the place to go now.But the sky knows the reasons and the patterns behind all clouds, and you will know, too, when you lift yourself high enough to see beyond horizons."

I think there is something Buddhist about this image, something involving the inherent nature of all things and of people. I have read and heard a lot of writers talking about what inspires them to write, and where their ideas come from, and many concur that the inspiration for their stories or poems just seems to 'appear'. This has led some people to believe that ideas come from a Higher Power, but I think I prefer the idea that the quotation above hints at: "the sky knows the reasons."

This makes me think about what, in my mind, I call the 'bigger picture' or the 'process': by this I mean that all the issues and questions that arise in my mind, the individual thoughts, are often so all-consuming on a minute to minute level, that I cannot see the wood for the trees. I become hinged on these thoughts, goals or concerns: giving up smoking, writing the blog, going to work and so on, that they become all I think about. One leads neatly onto the next. Time passes.

But all of these individual issues, the clouds, if you will, are part of my overall direction, part of "the sky" and they form an ever-moving, ever-changing and interacting loop, each part affecting the whole, the whole affecting each part. It may (and did) feel like the idea for yesterday's blog came from nowhere, but it came from everywhere: everything that happened to me yesterday, every day before.

I think it is the same with my creative urge. A sentence, or more often an image or a scene, comes into my mind with such clarity, it feels as if it has been placed there from outside. I write it down, and from this first seed comes the rest of the story, stage by stage. Characters become themselves and show me how they will behave. Environments build themselves and show me how they affect everything that happens inside them. The story feels as though it writes itself.

Later, sometimes years later, I look back on these creations and I can see that there are themes and symbols that have significance to things that happened in my life, and, after a time, I get to see what "the sky knows". But how do we, apart from allowing the passing of time, "lift ourselves high enough to se beyond horizons?" The Buddhists would answer meditation, but there are lots of ways to meditate.

My friend Lisa has advised me in the past to identify what is at the centre of my purpose, what do I want? We often answer this question firstly with very simple or material things, I want to be successful, I want to be thin! Lisa advises after every answer that you can identify that you ask again, "Why do you want this?" I want to be thin so that others will find me attractive, for example. When you run out of answers to the question, Why do I want this, you have probably found your core reason, what you really want. Hold onto this, it is your purpose. She advises that every time you consider taking on new project, or a new relationship, or a new job, that we remind ourselves of that core purpose and ask ourselves if what we are considering is congruent with it. I think these sort of exercises, performed often enough are a form of meditation, too.

I think this relationship to our core purpose, to who we are, who we want to be, is how we see beyond horizons, beyond the everyday.

Anonymous number 2, I hope that answers your question!?

Want a little help with your inspiration, or want to catch up with what the others are up to? May I recommend: BBC zine, the collective - for all your cultural needs Satirist, Cartoonist, Very Funny For those of us who love libraries Check out Flavor section to browse music by your mood - click on individual artists to listen to tracks from their cd's Hear the hits before they hit the charts


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