The Abstract Writer

I’m sitting and watching The Right Stuff. In the second episode, the Mercury 7 are given a deal by Life magazine.

It struck me that in every action, and every moment there’s a clarity, a goal, in this series. It’s not always been something that’s been present in my writing, or even in my thinking.

Recently, I was reading Brené Brown’s ‘The Gifts of Imperfection,’ and she speaks about joy as a collection of moments strung together. Joy, she says, cannot be a continuous, blinding light. We wouldn’t be able to handle it.

I’m thinking about the beauty, maybe, in my abstractness of thinking. My abstract writing. It’s not that I can’t write with clarity or purpose, but rather, now, I’m thinking – why is that the only way?

I’ve studied linear narrative. The hero’s journey is accepted, nuanced, comfortable – it bears a pattern we relate to.

Poetry, too, has a pattern. Not just one, either. Sonnets, sextets and haiku’s abound in a flurry of rhythmic pentameter. We have the Beats, the Romantics, French medieval poetry (a whole world of it’s own.)

I read a book in secondary school, I can’t remember the author’s name or the title but…this author introduced me to a concept I had never heard before. An underlying, but none-the-less powerful, musical concept named ‘fugue.’

In a fugue, a melody is cohesively intertwined with the rest of the musical piece to create greater depth. I just love this. I love that in every part of our world, a sum of little parts joined together can create something wonderful and add not chaos, or confusion, but depth.

I think I am an abstract writer, not because I don’t know what I want to write about. I read hundreds of news articles in a week, content is not something I lack…I write abstractly, perhaps, because I’ve always recognised that the string before the twinkly light is as important in creating a cohesive picture, as the twinkly lights are themselves.

I write because there’s a joy in the wandering. There’s a joy in the musing. There’s a joy in the play of everything abstract.

It strikes me that stories are magical when they are structured, and real, and ordinary and honest – and part of my structure, reality, ordinary day and honest self is to be an abstract writer.

Someone who exists in the spaces ‘between,’ before a new story becomes clear. I think that’s me.

I also think the most dangerous thing about not claiming the power of being an abstract writer, at least at times, is that we can subsist in forcing a structure where one hasn’t the foundations to grow to something magnificent. Waiting in this space of perfectionism can block creativity altogether.

I didn’t start this blog because I believed I was finally ready to show my edited and perfected words to this corner of the world, I started it because not starting something at all would be a failure.

If I had kept scraps of paper, poems and stories to myself for the rest of my life, not knowing if they would touch someone or not, and to then not allow my abstract ways to lead me to moments of joy, and connection – then where would I be? That would be the failure, right?

Self-rejection in creative pursuits can only be a part of the process for so long, before you realise that it’s time to start something new. Or, continue on in a fugue-less life, denying yourself a depth and an expression of who you really are.

Your vitality is the twinkly light, and it needs the exploration of abstract thoughts to even begin to manifest form from it. At least, that’s been my path so far.

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