Thursday, January 30, 2014

True Seeing

Three weeks ago I (Donis) underwent an operation (which was a success and I'm doing very well, thank you), and I am still recuperating at home. I'm not in much discomfort any more, though I don't have much physical energy. That doesn't bother me too much. It's only been three weeks since a pretty substantial slice and dice, after all.

But I don't have much mental energy, either, and that has been bothering me. I need to finish a book.

I find I want to sit out in my back yard and simply soak up the sun and listen to the birdies. I do not have the will to figure, think things over, plot and plan. But serendipitously I have discovered that there is something divine about not thinking. If you don't blind yourself with thoughts, you suddenly can see truly. This is quite a gift, this ability to observe without judgement. I find myself wanting to paint, or to photograph colors and shadows and shapes. What is a thing if you don't put a name to it?

I once heard a writing teacher say that one of the best things a novelist could do was study poetry, for poetry is the art of expressing the essence of a thing or a thought or a being in as few words as possible, or by the use of the perfect word. As Mark Twain said, "the difference between the right word and almost the right word is like the difference between lightning and a lightning bug."

The problem with true seeing and the desire to share your observation with the world is how in God's name to do it? How do you express the inexpressible?

As the Powers That Be would have it, Hannah Dennison just posted a link (below) to a TED lecture by Elizabeth Gilbert that goes a long way toward answering that question, and I highly recommend that if any of you Dear Readers haven't taken the time to watch it, you do so this minute.

Anyone who has ever tried to create a piece of art, be it writing, sculpture, pottery, painting, cooking, or what have you, knows exactly what Gilbert means when she says that creativity is divine, because which of us hasn't suddenly found herself in the midst of making something that is infinitely better than she knows she's capable of.

It's that genius that lives in the walls. Somehow you've gotten your head out of the way and the genius sees an opportunity. She jumps in the conduit and out she comes through your fingers.

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