When I first began writing, it was difficult to explain to others how I came up with my ideas. It’s one question that is often asked by people who maybe don’t do art, but are ones who appreciate of all different mediums. It’s also asked by those who are just starting out, as if they’re asking for permission, or want to know that they’re “doing it right” from someone who has been “doing it” for a while. When I’ve listened to other artists explain their idea creation, it’s always different. I believe that though their interpretations differ, what they try to explain is the same. Natalie Goldberg, in her book Wild Mind: Living the Writer’s Life, encourages writers to practice. Throughout her book, she gives lots of suggestions for how to go about it. When we begin to practice creativity, it takes us out of our current time and space.
“Writing practice teaches us…to go out there in the wilderness and make friends with it…we have to be willing to enter wild mind, where everything exists and where we are not separate…Writing practice takes us to a place where boundaries melt…You taste impermanence.” This is how she describes our imagination. When we decide to make art, we have to travel to wild mind. Monkey mind is where control lives, where there are boundaries. The more we practice, the easier it becomes to traverse the road to the wilderness where unknown things live. It is from this place that art is authentic, that ideas float on the air, the space that becomes addictive to those who make art a priority in their lives.
Many people shy away from any esoteric-ness in art, whether it’s the explanation of how an artist “came up with the idea”, or how it makes the one feel while viewing/experiencing the art. Maybe that’s part of the reason why it’s difficult to explain, unless one is aware that that’s where their imagination runs to when they “come up with an idea”. To be less esoteric, “When you write, you tap the core of your wildness, you have to be prepared to let that live inside you and not destroy it…Writing is a great journey. It is a path with the possibility of making us free.”
All art has this possibility. How do we become free? I think it happens when we investigate every part of ourselves and drag to light even those pieces that are dark. Children think nothing of stripping off confining clothes. They’re free. They’re comfortable exposing themselves because society hasn’t told them that it’s not acceptable. When we can pull off our outer trappings and expose ourselves, even if it’s to our own eyes, then we become free, or freer than we were before we began to create.
What has been true for me, and for others that have shared with me, is that once the journey down the creative road begins, there’s no getting off of it. The path may detour, and there most certainly will be mountains and holes and tigers and poisonous spears and helpful fairies, but once we begin, we can’t turn back. If we do, the effort is greater than it is to continue moving forward. “I thought of the pain of writing. I thought it was more painful never to write.”
I welcome you to view my writing journey on my website: www.myjoyenterprises.com
Have you ventured into the wilderness of your own wild mind? Did it make you free?