It is to me an idea somewhere between the miraculous
and the half-imagined, that the spark of a story (or painting or poem or....) may be found anywhere at all, even in unexpected
places. The thought that these beginnings are just "there", floating around, waiting, in this place or that place, be it obvious,
metaphorical or hidden, seems to me to be the stuff of sense and not mystery. It is a thought, passing through my mind as I write this, that it is perhaps not an impossibility that the dream children
of the artist, poet or writer are real entities, hovering somewhere in the mists
of time and place, metaphoric phantoms who never lived as flesh and blood (or perhaps a few that have) waiting for pen or
brush or voice to give them form. How often characters seem to come alive! How real they seem to become! So much so that it
might be unsurprising to find that they had once been real, lived and walked and dreamed, in some other time or place. Would
it be so shocking to find one's character in an antique diary or faded photograph, exactly as one had imagined them? Would
it be so fantastical to think that the creations of the literary or artistic mind could actually be echoes from the past or
the future? Or perhaps in ways we will never understand, they could be fainter whispers of that which might have happened
but never did? Mankind has an unerring instict for destroying what could have been. But that does not mean that those
stories do not need to be told. It is not always for the sake of the reader that the writer
writes. In my experience, the writer writes for the story.
Despite an unfortunate occasional stint of laziness (usually in the editing stages) I have never suffered writers block,
nor have I ever wracked my brain (tearing my hair and beating my breast and being otherwise melodramatic) in the throes of
a vanished inspiration. The words are always somewhere, and they come when I call them, or at least I never seem to have a
lack of them. Perhaps becasue I always meet them half way...Yet sometimes I find myself wondering... where do they come
from? How is is that somewhere, just below perception, beyond sight or hearing, there is another world (so to speak) filled
with ideas, with visions, pictures, stories... peopled by characters often seemingly more real than those I meet and interact
with every day? Thinking about this brought the thought to me, all at once in a flash of revelation, that I am gifted.
Not gifted in the "talented" sense.... gifted in the sense of having been given a gift. Because the act of creation
is something amazing (from paintings to plants to poetry to babies) and for some reason, unknown by perhaps all but my creator,
I have the ability to work the magic that occurs when someone takes something out of nothing and creates a new entity (poem,painting,
song, etc.) where before there was only an empty space, waiting. This is a truth I have learned. And the even more miraculous
truth is that I am one of so many. Art is not a one time miracle. And along with that gift, I find myself wondering,
is there also not a special sort of perception? A acute (or even vague) sensing,
perhaps, or some facet of sight or hearing, that gives glimpses beyond the things that are seen and heard everyday, by everyday people? Why else would it be that some
should hear whispers and see shadows in the halls and stairwells of old historic
houses, sense faces pressed to antique window panes, even though all other observances (including their own eyes) tell them
there is nothing there? Why does music give some people visions? Why to some
is storytelling a dance, and poetry simply art painted in words on the breath of existence?
I have felt emotion seeping from the floorboards and roofbeams of hundred year old houses, I have heard sighs in empty
rooms and seen colors at the corners of my vision, in places no one else has thought to look. And those that do look? Often
they see and hear nothing at all. Is the story, then, just out of reach until we claim it? Are there stroyghosts in the air
around us? Whispering from the past, calling from the future, or maybe just across the Earth? Would it be so wondrous if every inspiration was actually someones story, asking to be told? Those not born, those long gone, those with no voice of their own? The average person would never hear or see these fragments, as they hurry by, preoccupied
with all the day to day pieces of a busy life. But isn't it a little like that tree falling in
the forest? Perhaps the stories do not take form until someone is willing to see them.
If that is the case then, do not we (the writers, artists, poets, painters, storytellers of the world) have a sort
of responsibility to take the visions and make them real? Perhaps each is uniquely gifted to glimpse certain reflections on
the edge of perception, sounds that sift through a blanket of silence and apathy, light that shimmers past a curtain of mundanity
and commonplace. Seeds that can only bloom
if planted, creations that may never have birth should that individual
fail to pick up pen or paintbrush, or speak or sing them into existing. Not everyone has the gift of 'sight', perhaps it is only by this act of creation that others can see. It is a weighty responsibility, yet one
to be wished for and rejoiced over, because in that moment, we hold the power to take into our hands something without form...
and transform it. If that is not a blessed gift to have been given, I can not say what is.