Friday, April 6, 2012

Clean, Or: The Half-hidden Muse

There's a phrase-pattern I've heard from a few artists that interests me. It's...the worship of the untouched piece, I suppose. The chunk of marble for a sculptor, or the blank page for a writer, or a blank canvas for a painter. The first few times I heard it, it seemed like grandstanding. 'Anyone could do this, I just do it.'

But, having written with the idea in mind...I think I get it. I've gotten the advice, 'Start writing, then don't stop,' from a variety of reputable sources, and sometimes I even follow it. Often, this leaves me with a disorganized bundle of things that I can then sort out into a functioning piece because I've at least gotten them down.* The editing comes in, and then I understand my thoughts, so I can rewrite most of it and re-arrange what's salvageable.

And then I get these oddball things. Like, I was writing a paper in English class. It was on power, and I wrote a blog post on it before I even really knew how I was going to write the paper. The problem was, even after I figured out the basics of what I wanted to do, I didn't really have a starting point. I knew I wanted to make the point that power and choice were essentially synonymous, and I had some examples from Hamlet to back that up, but none were really worth starting the essay on.

Finally, I sat down. Step one: 'Start writing.'

Midas would work well here, said the blank computer screen. And I went, Oh, of course. Midas's turning-everything-to-gold thing seems like a blessing of power, and then he turns his daughter to gold and we realize that it's a weakness too, because he has no control over it.

Blank spaces are magic. Clear water, clear skies, random patterns in the clouds, bits of grain in the wood or lines in the stone. Something that is beautiful and inspires something by saying only, A thing could be here is magic, if anything ever was.
* I can also get it falling more or less into place, but if it falls that neatly, I probably didn't need someone to tell me to write.

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