Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Imagination...Thoughts on Writing

Sometimes when I sit down to write I'm confronted with a problem. I don't know what to do. I know what I can do but that seems to easy, it seems like something I've heard before, something too simple. So I wait and wait until my brain works out the problem and I find my way to something that sounds like me. It might be a familiar or probable plot but it's written in my own style. But while I'm still feeling uninspired, I sometimes think back to when I was younger. Didn't it seem like you were teeming with ideas that you just didn't know how to articulate as well as you can now?

So what is the problem?

A) Is the problem just that we become less imaginative with age? Is it the same way our brains are less capable of memorizing large amounts of information or learning a new language?

B) Is it a problem of structure? Is it just that we can still imagine things but only within the confines of certain plot points that society has instructed us on? That is, you're still fully capable of being imaginative but everytime you look for an answer the little people in your brain pull out options from a filing cabinet stocked with the tropes you've seen and read about in movies, books, TV, etc. Is it that we've been taught that certain things are realistic and so we reject what we might have once written? That is, we've had a notion of reality imposed upon us so like novel writers of the past we look for the option that seems the most probable. This stops us from writing about dragons, or magical ponies, or even taking realistic but wildly unconventional plot turns or such because those office minions in our brain stamp them with the red ink of the fantastic and unlikely. Is that why we rehash so many of the same plots?

Why is there this problem, if indeed there is one? Why is the height of our structural expertise when our imagination is at a low point? Why is the height of our imagination when we don't have the skill to explain our thoughts articulately?

And yet, when we're young we're not completely free of rehashing the same plots because we're learning. We're starting to pick up familiar plots, learn and develop them into our own plots as we develop our own style and voice.

So...which is the better point to be at? Should we keep journals when we're young to develop when we're older? Should we live in bubbles? How would we then learn the skill of writing without any products of society (books, essays, film, television, plays)? I don't really know how to deal with this so I'm just throwing it out there to the universe.

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