Our fourth guest blog posting by Faith is a lovely expression of the revitalising joy of creativity.
Making one’s life into art
The brief for this blog invited us to share our ideas about writing, our writing practice, or anything that is dear to our heart. Certainly writing is dear to my heart – for me it is more a matter of the heart than the head – a translation of emotions and desires into a medium both capable of and crying out for beauty. There is so much ugliness in the world and its words today – language and ideas that are critical, fake, brash, repetitive, meaningless, cheapening – but I feel that good writing can recover some of the beauty hidden inside the everyday world: Gerard Manly Hopkins’ “dearest freshness deep down things”. I am talking about the sort of writing that makes you slow down, pause in a deep breath of surprise or revelation, totally absorbed in the language, and then, with the rhythm of the syllables fading slowly into the background, look up and around you at familiar things with renewed wonder, seeing them as if for the first time.
So what do I write? Mostly I journal, sometimes for hours in a day, mostly in prose but when necessary, in verse. Sometimes I share it, publish it, set it to music and sing it, perform it in concerts. But mostly its just a process, done for the love of the craft, for the feel of the material giving and springing back under my mind’s pressure, like your knuckles kneading bread. What am I doing with all those words? I am making my life into art. I am transforming apparently mundane events into significant beauty, finding patterns in the randomness in the same way that human beings in every culture have looked up at the stars and seen hunters, creatures, gods. So I am changing the way I perceive my life.
As Hamlet said, “there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so” Do I think in words? I hear that this is assumed to be the case, but no, I begin with emotions, experiences, connections, sounds, directions, colours. Perhaps it is the translation of these experiences into words that could be called thinking. And once they are so translated, the more vividly the better, they are able to produce magic – the super-power I would have chosen among all others as a child – the ability to transfer deep emotions and subjective perceptions from one human mind and heart to another.
You see, we share the same planet, but our minds are actually opaque to one another. The possibilities for misunderstandings are endless. But in good writing and good reading you can suddenly or gradually make that incredible leap into another person’s mind. That, for me, is more exciting than space travel, and more beautiful than a rose – to see that flower through your eyes gives me a sudden vista onto a whole new universe, a shift of perspective that can shock with freshness like a sudden shower of spring rain in the desert.
Write for me,
brothers and sisters! Tell me your truth, and I will tell you mine!
And it will be beautiful.
About The Author
Faith has a degree in English Literature, and loves reading and writing, especially poetry. She has worked as a music teacher and performer, and has recently been studying theology in the hope of working for the Church of England, perhaps as a chaplain. She loves empowering and encouraging children and adults to explore their creativity, faith and unique voices, building their self-confidence and enjoyment, using music, words or any other medium. She has two children and lives in a commune in Cambridge with six ducks, five chickens, four pianos, three bathrooms (I think), two staircases and one Aga. Pop in, the kettle just boiled.
Creative Writing at The Edge is supported by
Cambridge City Council, Oblique Arts and The EDGE Cafe