• The Secret Books
    The Secret Books
    by Jorge Luis Borges, Sean Kernan
  • Among Trees
    Among Trees
Teaching and Lecturing
« Here's something to try that would seem quite radical if It weren't so simple. | Main | LINE: a lost play by Samuel Beckett »

Acts of Creation

I've been making notes on how to get the essence of my class into the form of a book. It is really complex and difficult to try to make an equivalent for the experience of a class, but until I manage it I thought I'd post some of the fragments here.

What happens when the great create?

It gets going out of something so very little as to be almost nothing…or perhaps actually nothing.

Think back, think of someone else sitting there trying to catch the thing that is dancing on the edge of their awareness. They want to reach out and grab it and set it down. So they think and think.

Let’s see…

Something big is happening, you just know it somehow.

It's like a great wind is blowing, and you just know what it means…you feel it.

But you don't know how you know.


“You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.”


To begin my story, let me tell you a little about myself. Who am I? A wanderer. An outcast, cursed by I know not what, or at least that's the way it feels to me. But I don’t know why. (Oh, how do I get this going?)

“Call me Ishmael.”


Now Bottom comes back to himself  after having his mind completely scrambled all during a midsummer’s night with Titania. So how does he describe his vision/experience?

“No eye has seen nor ear heard what mine have…”

No, Bottom would never be so…self-aware. Too much of a dolt. Eye, ear…


“The eye of
man hath not heard, the ear of man hath not seen,
man’s hand is not able to taste, his tongue to conceive,
nor his heart to report, what my dream was.”

Just garbled enough, but still it is clear.


The point is you need to begin by sittting with your paper and pen, or walk with your camera (or sit with your camera, walk with your paper). Do it. Do it wrong. Do it again. Again, do it until it surprises you, looks like some poltergeist did it.

Have you had this experience while photographing in some situation? Or in editing, have you placed an image next to another and suddenly both make sense in a way that they didn’t separately?

You don’t have to do anything to provoke this. It's already there in you. Just allow it.

(Thanks for the purported examples above to Bob Dylan, Herman Melville, and William Shakespeare.)


I'll post more from time to time.




Reader Comments

There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>