Monday, June 21, 2010

The turmoil in my mind

Thoughts sprout from my mind
(Photo taken at the International Garden Festival, Château Chaumont, 2010)

A reader who commented on my blog “The fluency of reality” (April 26, 2010) reproached me of having “too much turmoil in my mind”. I do not know whether he referred only to what I wrote there or that he thinks that it is generally so, but I suppose that he is right and I am proud of it. Even more, probably I couldn’t have written my blogs and what else that I have written during the years without the turmoil in my mind, sometimes less, sometimes more, sometimes maybe even in that degree that I did not know where to start writing. For I think that some disorder in your mind is necessary for being creative and developing new ideas.
Most creativity does not start from nothing, with a flash and there it is. No, creativity is hard working. You cannot be creative without knowing what you are talking about, so you need thorough background knowledge. Therefore, I spend much time on reading on themes that I find interesting and that are important for what I want to write about. Themes that broaden my mind. From this background I choose my subjects for a blog or for an article or maybe even for a book. But then, I am not yet ready: I need a plan of work. I do not want to say that I have always a well developed plan when I am writing. Far from that. A vague plan is often enough for me to make a start and to come to a good end. Once I have begun writing, my mind produces lots of associations and when I pick them up, it leads me gradually to the development of what I have in my mind and want to express.
Writing in this way is not enough for creative writing, though. For until now it is simply a matter of practice and it does not bring something new. I do not want to say that the result will be unimportant. What is routine knowledge for me may be new for other people and help them a lot. But if I want to bring something really new and want to be really creative, I need something more: everything that I have gathered in my mind for my blog, article, book has to be mixed. That is where the turmoil starts. Unexpected and unlikely associations must be made, associations with themes, events and facts that do not belong to my main theme must be brought in. Thoughts that look foolish at first sight must be considered and developed in their consequences, old thoughts must be reconsidered, and so on, and so on. It is impossible to describe what happens, for much of it is an unconscious process. But one thing is clear: it is turmoil in my mind. And then it suddenly happens. It can be a matter of minutes, a matter of days, or sometimes a matter of years, but then, if everything goes well, all at once new creative thoughts sprout from my mind. It makes me happy and elated: something really new has been born. I am the first to admit that the result may also turn out to be false, and may have to be thrown away later. It may be an idea about which another person would say: “it involves too much turmoil in your … mind”. But is that bad? I don’t think so. For every thought can be the starting point for a new thought. Even a wrong thought, a false thought often is. It is the way creativity works and brings something positive. And in the end that couldn’t have happened without much turmoil in my mind and in the minds of other persons.


Luzdeana said...

Turmoil is the esence of creativity. And there wouldn't be any phiilosophy or art without it! I can't believe somebody has complained about it.
Good pic from that French garden, Henk.
Have a nice week.

HbdW said...

Gracias, Diana. For the comment I replied to, see my blog of April 26last.