Monday, April 2, 2012

The Things No One Has Seen

I've got a friend. Okay, I have a few friends. A few brilliant friends. But this one friend wants to see things no one else has ever seen. And that got me thinking: I might be insane, but when I walk down the street, go to a concert or try to sleep, I see things no one else has ever seen.

My imagination is weird that way. I'm not unique; I think it comes with the self-imposed job description of Writer, seeing things that aren't there but not in a trippy I'm-losing-my-mind sort of way. Something simple, like the way the sun shines through a white cloud, can set something off in my head. I like the way the particular whiteness of the light makes everything seem extra-real, like walking through a dream. It's a weird experience that only lasts a few seconds, until the cloud has moved just that tiny bit.

I saw two birds flying through the sky, a seagull and a blackbird, and I see Yin and Yang. It makes me think about balance in the universe. A scale isn't balanced without both ends weighing the same, and those two birds set off that idea about the scale, about two opposing forces being necessary in the world. (And a note for writers: you don't get away with writing a story without an opposing force.)

I went to a concert in the O2. There was an impressive light show, lots of lasers and whatnot, and it made an idea in my head click. It was to do with the sequel to Bliss, the Sci-Fi novel I wrote last year. The concert was in no way Sci-Fi. It was just this connection, and in making that, I saw what the book would show the reader, a beauty I can't describe without the context of the story to unfold around it.

And I think, why would anyone need to go anywhere if they just change the way they look at the world. Seven or eight years ago, when I started to write the first book I ever completed, everything changed for me. I looked at different things in the world for inspiration, from old weapons to Biblical texts, at images of mythological creatures to the regular people who walk the streets of Dublin, trying to figure out the world I was writing. I wasn't very good at it, then, but I was young and only starting out.

The point is that I was opened up to the particular beauty of the world that can only be experienced when you stop worrying that people will think you're crazy. I doodle a lot in class, a lot of eyes and faces and monsters made of black spindly lines, and I jot down ideas and words in the back of my notebooks, and all that time the lecture could be talking about anything interesting or boring but I'm too caught up in the images in my head to pay too much attention.

That's what writing is all about: finding something in the world that matters more in that moment than anything else. No, there's more to it than that. It's about sharing that experience with other people. I don't mean like this, just telling you about that I do when I lose interest in a lecture for a few seconds to write down an idea - especially fun when the idea comes from two different lectures in a day and something about them just clicks.  Writing is about turning the experiences of writing down words and doodling into words that people can read to understand what you see in your mind.

That's why I write. Not just the things I plan on releasing into the world, but the stories I write that only one person in a dozen might get (a very particular dozen, too, though maybe that number is too big or too small.) I just want to share the sort of beauty I see in the world, even if it all comes across as being a bit weird. At the end of the day, I'm stuck in this city at least until I graduate college, and I get to see things no one has seen.

The world will be a crazy place when I finally get out to see it.

No comments: