Thursday, April 10, 2014

Cora’s Crazy Creative Process



I sometimes relate to Vincent Van Gogh, not the ear-cutting-off-thing, but the crazy visions and overload his brain must have endured. Do all artists get like this from time to time, or all the time?

This past month I’ve been overloaded with sensory stimuli and it has produced all kinds of interesting ideas, visions and past life reflections that have been amazing. (Did you notice I slipped in that part about past lives? Well, I’ll get to that.)

I went to Left Coast Crime in Monterey, mystery conference par excellence. For five days I was exposed to other writers, information and experiences that left a strong mark on me. I could talk about all that I learned, but today that would be too tedious, since the REAL learning occurred afterwards in dreams and inspiration after-the-fact.

To add to the stimuli from the conference, I took a road trip up north to San Francisco to visit with my daughter and the day I drove back became an experience of another sort. It was a day in and out of sun and rain, across different terrain and coastline scenarios until my emotions were rung out. I got home happy but exhausted and the next few days had dreams that shook me to my core, from depression to elation, and set me on another writing project (I have several going at the moment). I keep journals of my ideas and ‘craziness’ and have for years—they are being well worn after my recent adventures.

I will just briefly (because it might actually end up as a novella) mention one of these dreams/visions that came. Was it a past life? (my writing theme, it seems—Dance the Dream Awake being my first past life novel). Is it wishful thinking? Is it a psychic flash of another time—or is it strictly imagination? Who knows, maybe a combination of all. Who can say what happens in the mind of an artist and where our ideas come from?

I use ‘past life’ as my construct to understand the images in a way that I can reason out and ‘get my head into’ the place where the ideas flow for a story such as this:

Picture a Roman Centurian, strong elite warrior. He briefly sees a woman through an alcove window into her garden. When their eyes meet, there is instant recognition—electrical sparks run through both of them—he has had lifetimes with this lady and they recognize each other’s energy right away—but I won’t go on. You get the idea where this is going—it’s a romance. But can you relate to the fact that we sometimes meet people and have instant rapport with them even though we just met—an uncanny familiarity.

What happens next? Will they get together? What will that mean for him and for her? Have they had other lifetimes together and this connection happens because they know each other so well? Where have they been together before, and how does that affect where they are now, and how they will relate this time around, and what obstacles will keep them apart? Etc., etc.

How did this come from a road trip? What stimulated that creative idea in my mind? Does it even matter that we know?

So there it is, the crazy creative process that feels much like I imagine Vincent went through (although for him disease was probably a big part of it—but then, aren’t all artists a bit out there to a greater or lesser degree?)

 (I know I ramble a bit, all part of my female brain that goes off in several directions all at once to glean the inspiration and information I need.)


Tell me what you think about this creative process.  

Have you ever had that déjà vu experience with another person?

What do you think of past lives? Believe or no?



Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

Fascinating. I do things much differently than you. My dreams are mostly about trying to find a bathroom (thanks goodness I always wake up) and about all the places I used to live--in this life. I do get ideas about the book I'm working on at odd times and have to jot down notes, and also ideas about the next book in the other series--notes again.

Anonymous said...

I think about past lives off and on and wonder if that's what most of my recurring dreams are about. I was raised in the 1950s by a single mother and near the edge of poverty but we always managed to make it one more day and if close to financial collapse we'd end up at my grandmother's home, in Belmont, CA, who was never very happy to see us. I dream of that house often. Not sure where this is going but your post got me thinking as well about dreams, past lives which I certainly believe I've lived, and what it all means. Happy to hear they provide inspiration for your work. Really liked your post, Cora.

Anonymous said...

I'm with Marilyn and the bathroom dreams. Someone told me they were my frustration dream - must be, because they are the only dreams I totally recall when I'm awake. Often I will travel done a strange road in my dreams and it eventually becomes a road I've been on before - dream wise. I may be in my old car, I may be on a motorcycle or even walking but always with a different destination or object in mind. At least it's not in search of a bathroom.
P.S. Lives? Too tired getting through this one.

Cora said...

I used to remember every dream, but it takes discipline and a process to remember them. Now it goes in spurts and the strong ones stay with me or come back to me when I sit with my journal. I have the bathroom dreams as well--for me they represent my need for emotional or internal cleansing. Thanks for your thoughts on this, Marilyn.

Cora said...

Thank you, Paul. I appreciate that you commented. It always helps to know the kind of reactions my posts engender. Past lives seem so normal to me--or even some other existence lived simultaneously (maybe Bubble theory is involved). My thinking is open ended.

Cora said...

You are a saint, few like you exist. Hope it all gets easier. In dream interpretation, a car usually has to do with your vehicle/body. I just fly in my dreams, no vehicles--ha, ha. Thanks for comments.

Anonymous said...

I'm reading this, thinking of all the author interviews I've read in which author says they are tired of people telling them they have a great idea that they will share with author, then author can write the book and they will split the profit.

Ideas are endless. It's turning those ideas into a work of art that takes time, skill and energy.

So glad your adventure yielded so much bounty, Cora.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, and Sherry, don't you just love the offended look on their faces when you say no thanks. How dare you refuse!

Cora said...

On writing someone else's idea: I had a 'friend' who dropped me cold because I wouldn't write her book for her. She was so offended, I could not believe it. And we 'were' pretty close.