Saturday, August 31, 2013

The Seduction of Impersonation

A brave writer has an enormous field of play. When crafting fiction, the creative mind starts somewhere near that blank slate of unlimited potential and is free to devise and invent, encumbered only by combinations of a focused intellect and regressive morality. We are to generate the plausible from within the implausible; we may venture where we dare.

What can we learn by an immersion of the writer’s mind into the expanse of a character born from that same imagination? Through the craft of developing a fresh perspective, we are permitted the opportunity to be what we are too timid to explore in actuality or we might correct an injustice as it has challenged us in regular life. In this fashion, writers approach the work of actors — we are given license to explore both morality and causation, without the threat of direct consequence. From the familiar safety of a desk, we merge time and again with the gusto of a desire to create and explore.

For the full potential of an ardent imagination to be activated into a coherent competence, the writer merges with what it is they wish to emulate. Once the desire to sculpt language into exposition has hooked the focus of intent, what novice writer has not imagined themselves capable of literary skill far beyond present ability? We read, then recognize and begin to understand the power that writing can convey — so it goes. This desire to share in the act of so direct a form of communication spins momentum forward and we imagine ourselves following along the same precipice as those we have been illuminated by.

It is mandatory growing pain: incapable of recognizing the folly of a well-intended impersonation, the exhilaration of early expression is fulled by the surfacing of nascent contents from a newly activated, darting imagination. This emotional overture belies lucid reflection; we believe in these times that we have matched what we have so admired.

Eventually, the scrape of time exposes this early vanity. That ecstasy attached to what we first created almost always breaks down as we climb the ladder of moving that raw, bewildered and flawed work towards a reader. Every serious author knows that sting of re-visiting a manuscript they once believed to shine in brilliance but on second inspection emerges as too hackneyed and presumptuous to be rescued.

If the beginner becomes lost in the belief they have achieved instant brilliance, the cruel awakening from this deception might leave a scar. It is only through the humility which accompanies wisdom that reassures us we have not failed out-rightly but only made the error of over-reaching.

In review, we learn that the imagination has seduced us into believing that time alone in the creative cloister will circumvent the pains of sincere apprenticeship.

{Artwork by Odlion Redon}