Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Words (and Everything Else) Made Manifest


Sunday, January 20 ~ Albuquerque, New Mexico

I'm sitting in my living room, my laptop on my lap-top and a thick, manuscript-filled binder on the sofa next to me. On my screen is a document last viewed in March 2006, while the binder is open at a page created in January 1999.

Both represent uncompleted drafts of The StarQuest, my unfinished sequel to The MoonQuest.

I stare from page to screen and back again and wonder why it has been so difficult for me to write this story. (It's been so difficult that, in 2003, I suspended my first draft after 200-some pages and started all over.)

For a while, I had thought that the story was so far ahead of me, creatively and spiritually, that I needed to live a whole bunch of life to catch up with it. (I had a similar, if much briefer experience with The MoonQuest.)

I still believe that to be true...up to a point. And while I can't know yet whether I'm fully caught up, I know I'm caught up enough to return to work on it.

And so here I sit, the easy flow of words still eluding me.

It's a tired truism that we teach what we need most to learn, and I think of that as I recall these words from my new book on writing, The Voice of the Muse: Answering the Call to Write, from a chapter titled "Creating Perfection":

"Are you frustrated? Do you struggle to find the perfect words that consummately evoke the depth of your passion or flawlessly paint the fullness of your vision? Are you frustrated because the words you have chosen seem inadequate, their ordering unsatisfactory?...

"It’s a futile frustration, for language is an approximation. It’s a powerful but often inadequate device for translating experience and emotion into a form others can share. ..."

The fact is, everything we choose to create in our lives -- be it books, wealth, relationships, a better job, better health -- already exists in the electromagnetic field around us. Whatever we desire is already present -- whole and unedited -- just beyond the tip of our nose.

The key -- and it's key to all manifestation work -- is in the translation. How do we take what already exists in one form (etheric energy) and translate it into another (physical energy)? How do we real-ize? How do we make it real in our day-to-day lives?

There are many tools and techniques out there involving things like affirmation, intention, visualization, reprogramming, acting-as-though and feeling/sensing/emotion. And they all have validity and potential, depending on the individual and his or her path, readiness and vibrational level.

What's rarely discussed, though, is that there is no universal alchemical formula that will take what is innately nonphysical and flawlessly translate it into the physical.

Once you remove "meta" from "metaphysical," the infinite energies in question have to shift to fit into the more finite box of our physical world, as it is now organized.

I'm reminded of a drawing I did a few years back. Normally when I draw, I set my palette of colors in front of me and intuitively sense which to use when. On this day, I sensed a color that didn't seem to exist. Not one pencil from my extensive array felt right.

Then it struck me that the color I sought wasn't visible to the human eye, which can only discern colors in a fixed spectrum. What I sensed could not translate into the physical (as we now experience it), and I was forced to choose the closest possible approximation.

With The StarQuest, I see and know the story. I feel it and sense it. And yet as magnificent as the English language is, it's not up to the task. No language is or could be.

That's not a bad thing. It forces me to let go of my perfectionist tendencies. It forces me to recognize that it's not my inadequacy that's holding me back. It forces me to empower my readers by creating Impressionist moments instead of Kodak moments. And it frees me to create not copy.

Whether in writing, art or life, creation is an act of doing the best we can with the materials at hand. It's recognizing that even our imperfect tools are life-changingly powerful. It's being open to the journey, not merely to the destination.

That's something that I as the teacher continue to learn in all aspects of my life, something I will do my best to remember when I next sit down to The StarQuest.

"Creating Perfection" ends this way:

"All you can do is translate your experience as heartfully as you’re able into little squiggles on a page. Begin by recognizing that most of the time you’re only going to come close. Continue by knowing that it remains within your power to have your words incite revolution, topple dynasties, overthrow 'reality.'

"That’s perfect enough for me. How about you?"


Read more excerpts from The Voice of the Muse, and hear a guided meditation for writers from The Voice of the Muse Companion 2-CD set, here.

Order your copy of The Voice of the Muse book and/or CD here.

6 comments:

motherwort said...

It always seems you are a step or two ahead of me. I few weeks ago I had an epiphany of a day, writing a story in one sitting, and since it has been laborious sessions with little to show. I've come to accept this ebb and flow and the need, for me at least, to keep at it, sitting with the words, seeing what comes, but I am not always graceful about it. Sometimes I get downright resentful, more 4 than 49.

At our manifesting best, we are The Magician of the Tarot, bringing the etheric into the physical plane. More often though, we are human. I am reminded of a quote by Douglas Adams: "I seldom end up where I wanted to go, but almost always end up where I need to be."

Thank you again for sharing your thought and yourself.

Mark David Gerson said...

I'll see your Douglas Adams and raise you a Somerset Maugham and an E.L Doctorow!

Both these quotes (and others) appear in The Voice of the Muse.

Writing is like driving at night in the fog. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.
- E.L. DOCTOROW

There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.
- W. SOMERSET MAUGHAM

And one more, for good measure, from novelist Lawrence Block:

It is not so much that we learn how to write as that we learn how to trust ourselves.
- LAWRENCE BLOCK

motherwort said...

I see how it is. A Quote War is it? The Lawrence Block quote resonates the best for me right now. Trusting ourselves seems to be part and parcel of life and not just writing.

Mark David Gerson said...

My favorite quotes about writing support my philosophy that life is the ultimate creative act.

Here are two more, also from the book, that fall into that category:

It is good to have an end to journey toward, but it is the journey that matters in the end.
- URSULA K. LE GUIN

The gods only go with you if you put yourself in their path, and that takes courage.
- MARY STEWART

Anonymous said...

It's Suze:

DARLINGS! (Motherwort and Mark David)

Dr. Suess made up words, and George Bernard Shaw made up a whole language! And, as long as we're quoting, there was Lewis Carroll: " 'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves did gyre and gimble in the wabe..." And Donald Duck: "Oh, ya never know where you're goin' 'til ya get thar!" (Was he a friend of Douglas Adams...?)

Go and do likewise...

(I can't imagine star people who can't talk or communicate somehow. Now PLOT, that's another story! Literally.0

[I personally call my word inspirations "Susanisms". During my senior thesis in college, my teacher wrote a note across my paper that he had to look up a few words to be sure that they weren't "real".]

Anonymous said...

Mark David:

I just re-read this. Y'know, you're right: everything IS out there right now and I just have to access it. Hunh. It's so easy! Thanks! The Laws of Attraction... I own the bloody DVD: "maybe" I should watch it or something...?:-D

I used to write poetry for and about the guys I was dating. Only one ever wrote one for me. I'll bet that the women you've dated have been treated to some truly beautiful images, painted in words as you do.

Peace,
Suze