Every man's memory is his private literature.
~ Aldous Huxley
~ Aldous Huxley
writer’s Muse, as for most artists, is his imagination. There, the impossible becomes the commonplace; the extraordinary and fantastical, real. Middlearth is somewhere in New Zealand, a day’s ride by horse; Hogwarts, a 9¾ platform away.
In the imagination, reality too has a place: it becomes fathomable, pain is made tolerable, abuse - healable.
But if imagination is the gateway to art, what is the bridge to reach it?
Five Little Senses and What They Knew
This afternoon, I walked by the loading dock of a new office building. The air whooshing out of the vents triggered a sense memory. All of a sudden, I was 7 or 8 years old and on the second floor of a carpet store. My parents were shopping for new carpet to cover the wood floors [I know – don’t get me started!] in the dining and living rooms.
Not an exciting memory, I grant you. But a memory that can be plucked and re-planted in a short story. Or in a poem about the sense of smell. Or in an essay on the perceptions of childhood.
Sometimes a sound will trigger a memory (the ice cream truck jingle that reminds you of the day you realized you were poor), or taste (a bite of a fresh picked strawberry and you are back in your grandmother’s kitchen making shortcake).
You may be out walking in the rain and the splash of cars in puddles triggers, not a memory, but a scene that you’re working out for your new play. The steady beat of the rain suggests a way to end the chorus of a song you’re stuck on. The sight of cows munching in the field becomes the first stanza of a poem.
The Muse is all around us. We just have to look, listen, touch, taste and smell her presence. The rest is up to our imagination.
Oremus pro invicem,
What inspires you? Share your favorite memory with us in the comments!