Friday, November 13, 2015


OK, I'm going to say this, even if it makes me sound crazy.

I hear voices. Not only do I hear them, I listen to them.

They tell me their names. What they like. If they're lonely. If they're happy.

For example, I recently started hearing Edmund Applebaum. He's a professor of literature. He lives alone with his cat Winston, but he doesn't mind. He always has a good book to read and a notebook to write in. His little cottage is the only one in the woods, but it's the best place to watch the seasons change.

Edmund Applebaum is a doll that lives in a dollhouse I made. For the record, he doesn't actually talk to me, but my mind creates a story just by working on that little dollhouse. I'm sure JK Rowling heard plenty from Harry Potter before she wrote the first page, so that makes me feel a bit less crazy. It's like writing a book.

This dollhouse had been in my parents basement for years, and I finally brought it home with me. As soon as I started working on it again, I got a picture in my mind of a quaint little cottage, sitting in the middle of an autumn wood .  .  .the air outside is getting colder as winter approaches, and the windows have a layer of frost on them, and gives the light that radiates from the little house a translucent glow, inviting you in.

Edmund spends most of his time thinking, pondering, wondering and dreaming, and Winston the cat is the same way; he's too busy looking out the window to hunt the mouse that's under the stove.

Why am I blogging about this? Because the creative potential of the human mind amazes me. I didn't have to research this, or struggle to build it. There was no outline or plan in front of me. Nobody asked me to do this. I just did it. I can't even explain exactly how all this unfolded before me.

How does a composer hear the music before he's written it? How does an author create entire backstories for characters when they haven't even picked up a pen yet? The process is different for everyone, but the process isn't even the part I'm talking about right now, I'm talking about that mysterious part before we even embark on the creative process. The spark of inspiration.

Why does one thing ignite a creative fire in some, while others don't even have match to spare?

I look at a cardboard box, and I can immediately see it as Peter Rabbit's home in 1:12 scale. Others might see something else, or maybe they just see a box. I don't know what they see because I can only see through my own mind's eye. Someone else might see an afghan or a pair of mittens when they look at a skien of yarn, but for me it's just colored string.

It has happened that I have a cardboard box/dollhouse/structure/other item that I know I need because it will be integral in some brilliant exploit, but I don't know exactly how yet. That's torturous. But, I try to have faith in the concept of inspiration, knowing that it can hit at any moment.

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