Genius means little more than the faculty of perceiving in an unhabitual way.
~ William James
~ William James
erceptions can be dangerous. Especially if they’re the wrong ones. In the latest issue of Mary Jane’s Farm [love, love, LOVE that magazine! Can you tell I love it?], Rebekah Teal has an article about her truck, Elvis. Rebekah also owns an SUV and she’s noticed that people respond to her differently when she drives Elvis. And not in a positive way.
How snobby and shallow of those people!
And I must admit, that is pretty shallow: judging a person based on their ride. Yet we do it all the time. I’m as guilty as the next person, although mine is a little counter-current cultural: if I see you driving a truck, I automatically think you’re polite, can build and/or fix anything with your own two hands, and like homemade biscuits. Which is just silly, because I drive a truck and I can only lay claim to two of those perceptions!
However, my own perception of who I am and what I’m capable of changes when I drive my truck. When I drive my truck, I feel like I can fix or repair anything. I can't, but that fact doesn't change my perception.
Okay. So how does this pertain to art?
Perception plays a key role for any medium. Specifically, as a writer, my perception of my own characters ~ be it a fictitious one, or not ~ influences how you the reader perceive them. Is my language sympathetic? Are you meant to like this character and side with them? Or is my language harsh and cold, leading you to hope that this character “gets what’s coming to them?”
Brainstorming for new artistic ideas can sometimes be like waiting for rain in the desert. Better to do a rain dance then sit around. And I’ve spoken before about ways we can prime the pump.
Why not change your perception?
If I feel like a different person when I drive my truck, I can tap into that feeling, expand it, apply it to a character, express it in a poem, or write about in a blog post. Don’t have a truck? Test drive one! Or test drive a luxury sedan or sports car. There’s no law that says you can’t test drive a car even if you have no intention of buying it. You may be surprised at the views you encounter along the way.
Including the one from the driver’s seat.
Oremus pro invicem,
What changes your perception of yourself? Of others? Cars? Clothes? Job title? How can you use that change to change your art?