Friday, January 17, 2014

Sculptors, painters and writers

An image came to me last night concerning the difference between writers and artists as they engage in the act of creation.

A painter has an image in her mind. "Work" is the process of transferring this image to canvas. It's all right there: artist, paints, brushes, canvas.

A sculptor grapples with the stone or clay in front of him, kneading, chipping or pounding it into submission until it matches the image in his mind. It's a triad: sculptor, tools, medium. The system is closed and finite.

As I had this perception, it seemed to me that a writer has a larger place to go while he is working. We (writers, that is) slip into our creation, into the scene, the plot, the characters, the world. Yes, we're grappling with words as we write, but in a very real way we're not there, not typing, not writing -- we're inside the world we're creating. We're there.

I don't know if this is a reflection of true conditions or an impression that means little. But as I had this thought, I felt lucky to be a writer. The experience of leaving Earth behind while I slip into a fictional landscape feels so damn free.

I imagine artists also lay claim to an alternate space they visit while working, a place that feels more real and free than everyday reality. In truth, there's probably little difference between artists and writers. And since this concerns what philosophers call "qualia", there is no way to be sure. Our experiences are our own and no one else's.

Regardless of the truth of the matter, thinking about the different "work spaces" of writers and artists was uplifting. It made me glad to be this thing, to be a writer. I lucked out. And now, pardon me as I slip into an alternate world.
PS: Now you know why this blog is called "The Worlds". Shhhh. Don't tell anyone!