Friday, March 26, 2010

Your Story is Important, Learning to Write It


Life is like onions, one layer after another. And learning to realize that everything adds flavor to life so savor it all. And do not be afraid. There is only one you and we each our living only our story.

My birthday is fast approaching. And this year it falls on Easter Sunday, and I was born on Good Friday. The old children's rhyme comes to mind


Monday's child is fair of face,
Tuesday's child is full of grace,
Wednesday's child is full of woe,
Thursday's child has far to go,
Friday's child is loving and giving,
Saturday's child works hard for a living,
But the child who is born on the Sabbath Day
Is bonny and blithe and good and gay.

My gift to myself for this birthday is to be brave enough to follow one of my dreams. The dream of sharing stories and the wonder of them all.

So I will begin, with a lesson on writing

All creative processes, be they in literature, engineering, computing – and even in love – always respect the same rules: the cycle of nature. Here is a list of the stages along this process:

a] ploughing the field: the moment the soil is turned, oxygen penetrates places it was unable to previously. The field gets a fresh look, the earth which was on top is now below, and that which was underneath has come to the surface. This process of interior revolution is very important – because, just as the field’s new look will see sunlight for the first time, and be dazzled by it, a new assessment of our values will allow us to see life innocently, without ingenuity. Thus we will be prepared for the miracle of inspiration. A good creator must know how to continually turn over his values, and never be content with that which he believes he understands.

b] sowing: all work is the fruit of contact with life. A creative man cannot lock himself in an ivory tower; he must be in contact with his fellow men, and share his human condition. He never knows, at the outset, which things will be important to him in the future, so the more intense his life is, the more possibilities he will create for an original language. Le Corbusier said that: as long as man tried to fly by imitating birds, he couldn’t succeed. The same applies to the artist: although he translates emotions, the language he is translating is not fully understood by him, and if he tries to imitate or control his inspiration, he will never obtain that which he desires. He must allow his life to sow the fertile soil of his unconscious.

c] growth: there is a time in which the work writes itself, freely, at the bottom of the author’s soul – before it dares show itself. In the case of literature, for example, the book influences the writer, and vice versa. It is this moment which the Brazilian poet Carlos Drummond de Andrade refers to, when he states that we should never try to recover lost verses, for they never deserved to see the light of day. I know people who, during a growth period, spend their whole time furiously taking notes on everything which comes into their head, without respecting that which is being written in the unconscious. The result is that the notes, which are the fruit of memory, end up disturbing the fruit of inspiration. The creator must respect the time of gestation, although he knows – just like the farmer – that he is only partially in control of his field; it is subject to drought and floods. But if he knows how to wait, the stronger plants, which can resist bad weather, will come to light with great force.

d] the harvest: the moment when man manifests on a conscious plane that which he sowed and allowed to grow. If he harvests early, the fruit is green, if he harvests late, the fruit is rotten. Every artist recognizes the arrival of this moment; although some aspects may not have matured fully, some ideas not be crystal clear, they reorganize themselves as the work is produced. Without fear and with great discipline, he understands that he must work from dawn to dusk, until the work is finished.

And what to do with the results of the harvest? Again, we look to Mother Nature: she shares everything with everyone. An artist who wishes to keep his work to himself, is not being fair with that which he received from the present moment, nor with the inheritance and teachings of his forefathers. If we leave the grain stored in the granary, it will go bad, even though it was harvested at the right time. When the harvest is over, the time comes to share, without fear or shame, your own soul.

That is the artist’s mission, however painful or glorious.
By Paulo Coelho  The Creative Process

And the Easter Egg that led me to these thoughts was remembering the story of Harry Potter and it's author JK Rowling. Some stories have the power of alchemy. The great secret of life. To make gold out of lead.

It is because of Love that Snape went from a man who was bent down, spying at
doorways, to a man who could make his own plan and literally fly on his own.

Let's see...Lily rejected her friend Severus, The Prince, for James, the Potter...Years later, Her son Harry loved the Prince's book so much he desperately hoped the Prince might be his Dad...isn't that a delicious bit of irony?

But Harry is still the magic mushroom for me. Think of all who were transformed by Harry, as agent-of-change. Dumbledore, Dudley, Dobby, Fred and George, Ron, Hermione, Neville, Luna, Sirius, Lupin, and probably others.

While I haven't undergone a personal spiritual transformation, reading 'Harry Potter' and puzzling out the ideas and discussing them over the years have brought about a shift in attitudes and perceptions. If it happened to me, then it's possible that Ms Rowling planted the seed in everyone who read the story. Millions were given a potential for change. So I return again to what I've said so often, though not so recently, that the alchemist is Ms Rowling, the Stone is Harry, and the process -Harry's story -

transforms us the readers.