Tuesday, September 6, 2011

in a pearl sac

in every work of fiction there is a disclaimer which appears on the page with the copyright and the international standard book number:

this is a work of fiction. names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

good. understood.

these words, which go hand in hand with every story, got me thinking.

anyone who writes, about make-believe worlds or not, is ultimately captured and consumed, consciously or unconsciously, by the sights, sounds, tastes, feelings, textures, scents, and emotions which invade daily existence. writers do not create out of nothing. for example, seemingly unimportant gestures, mannerisms, facial expressions, a few words strung together in a certain way, a flicker of light bouncing off glass, the clink of coins falling on the floor, a sad or humorous story told by a friend, random events and circumstances, and the writer's own background and experiences are snippets which add up in the mind and find their expression through the flow of ink out of a pen, the tap-tap-tap on a keyboard. the pressure of all these pieces of life stuck in a writer's head reaches the point where it eventually needs to find satisfying release and be spewed out on a page.

inspiration emanates from these sources; stimuli is absorbed from reality and then is translated, transformed, transmuted, transmogrified into something new. what happens is the deck is shuffled to keep things interesting and unpredictable—to keep things honest.

who knows what trigger fires the imagination. something lodges in the brain and grabs hold and grows. perhaps inspiration is like an irritant. take the pearl. in nature, the creation of a pearl is caused by a living organism, often a parasite, which drills through a mollusk shell. the mollusk is disturbed by this invader and makes a pearl sac to cover and seal off the intrusive speck. but the tiny, irritating particle grows larger and larger as the mollusk continues to secrete nacre over it, and the sac expands right along with it. nothing can stop it. everyone knows the end of the story: eventually the irritant inside the sac presents itself in the form of a rather nice pearl.

something as inconsequential as a glance, a comment, a photograph, a rain shower, the scent of coffee, mist rising out of a pond, can set off the creative process. these little things won't be ignored for long. they combine to nag and gnaw inside the brain until they have to be taken care of and set straight. you never know where they'll take you.

when they enlarge, plump up, fill in they are finally ready.

ready for some fingertips to pound out a few of those pesky suckers.

No comments: