There is not less wit nor less invention in applying rightly a thought one finds in a book, than in being the first author of that thought.
– Pierre Bayle, philosopher and writer (1647-1706)
Right. Right. I have a few random thoughts on that, I think.
I believe it was Chaucer who said we plant new corn in old fields. An apt metaphor if I’ve ever heard one. And there’s a reason why reading is an imperative facet of writing. But what about other sources, such as music, movies, and even (egads!) TV?
A careful reading of the poetry I’ve written over the years will disrobe allusions to The Grateful Dead. And as I’ve been writing my novel, I’ve been thinking about To Kill A Mockingbird – the film version – at least a little. Sometimes I think about The Waltons TV show
As interested as I am in technology, as repulsed and drawn by turns as we are by the lurid lights and shadows of society and politics, I think nothing is more interesting than imagination. Without imagination, there is no invention, obviously no art.
In a sense, without imagination, there is no God. Because no matter how firmly we believe, and how well seated are doctrines and litanies in our minds, no sane believer can convince me he understands God. The Bible tells us we can’t. We can only try to comprehend Him through our symbolic imagination, and apprehend Him through a miniscule mysticism.
Mostly, we have to deal with life as it is Now – life on life’s term’s – or we wind up as crazy and wild as the Tucson shooter. But when the day is done, a creative person should feel at ease to hold her or his life up to the mirror of art at an angle, to see how the light might break differently then. And that’s a work of imagination. There’s no way to think about the future, otherwise.
What about you? How do non-print media inspire your creative life?