Friday, March 2, 2012

The Oblique Path to Knowledge

Lately, I've been feeling disappointed with some people I know. The only solution I know is to forgive yourself for not seeing the signs earlier, and to let go of the bitterness.

So I'm not going to talk anymore about that.

We have better things to do.

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Earlier in the year I read Zen in the Art of Writing, by Ray Bradbury. He shared an idea that got me excited:

Make lists of titles.

When you get an idea, or really just an intuition, or a word/phrase tugs at something inside of you, write it down and add it to the list. It could grow into a story.

Here is part of my list:
  • The Kingdom in the Mountains
  • The Night Train
  • The Swamp Witch
  • Rubicon
  • The Pavilion
  • The Glass Mountain
  • Damascus
  • The Last Emperor
  • The Ice Express
  • The Monster King
  • The Demon Lords
  • The Cult of Crashing Cars
  • The Mind Butcher
  • The Chaos Snake
  • The Sorceress and the Falcon Knight, a ballad*
*I'm working on this one right now.

Begin! And make sure you really feel the titles you add - each of these gives me a kick in the psyche.

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I've been reading Jung. Rather, I've started reading Jung - fine, a concise synthesis of his ideas, written by Jolande Jacobi.

Sometimes I feel on the verge of drowning under terms, so I'm going slowly. Turning things over in my mind. Trying to psychoanalyze myself (after all, "no analysis can ever exhaust the unconscious").

These titles to which I have a strong psycho-physiological reaction (I doubt that's a real word; it's just to let you know that I react both intellectually and with some deeper level of myself) could probably tell you a lot about me. But then, many of them are connected to symbols and such that have been significant to me since my childhood.

Some examples: In first grade my friends and I played a game called "baby animals beat the serpent". The serpent has become the Chaos Snake, and is the kind of enemy you cannot do without - I'd say more but it's going into the story of the Sorceress so I'd be giving away important plot points.

Anyway - I connect the Chaos Snake, the Serpent of my childhood, to the Ouroboros and other mythological snakes. It's surprisingly similar, or extrapolate-able. Jung's theory of the collective unconscious is looking ever more convincing.

A couple of the titles in my list are connected to Rome. The earliest I can definitively date my fascination with Rome is seventh grade, which I count as a different era from childhood; but still, interest in some things die, while other things seem connected to you from a deeper place.

Dreams. See what stuff pops up there. (I haven't had a drowning dream in a while. It's concerning.)

What point am I trying to make here? Use your art to learn about who you are. Trust your gut to know you better than you do.

I'm still thinking this through - what this means for my art, my life. If my thoughts seem half-formed, it's because they are. I know precious little, but one thing I'm certain of is that there will always be unfinished business.

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Good weekend, gentlefolk.

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