WORDS & IMAGES
Writing as a Creative Tool
WE ARE ALL BETTER WHEN WE STAND TOGETHER & USE WRITING AS A CREATIVE TOOL, just as my son, Eric, used a creative tool to split wood. No splitting maul was available to him, so he checked out what he had in the shed and voila – a pickaxe.
As I grow as a writer, I understand more and more that it’s not about words. I am always chasing the magic of an image. Words for me are a translation of the source of the story – and for me, this exists in and through an image. Just like these photos; A woodpile. A pickaxe. A family. A father who’s a hero to his children. I try to embody my scenes, which means landing in the presence of a world in action, exploring it with my five senses, and trying to get those details down. When it works, language can be a conduit, so the experience of the scene moves through my body and into the body of you, the reader.
We are trained to write reports, fill in forms correctly, and communicate clearly in an email. We also think, because we’ve been doing this for so long, that this is what ‘writing’ feels like. If you are used to writing creatively you might believe that words are buckled into their fixed meanings. Anyone can learn a few creative writing skills, and learn how to unfasten that buckle. Then a delicious space opens between word and meaning.
We all get to play with this because we all use language. Learning how to imbue a word with emotion can be incredibly liberating and healing. At the same time an empty canvas or a blank page, that oftentimes scary writing thing called white space can be down-right terrifying, and debilitating. But it can also be used to provide balance to a work of art or a page layout. A good amount of white space keeps things from feeling cluttered. And, many times, I’ve seen non-writers laugh with joy, their eyes lit up with surprise from something they discovered on their own writing journey, even while experiencing the dreaded white space that so many of us feel compelled to fill.
Along with this, I love the questions that come out when looking at images. I love the stories that emerge and sometimes they even surprise me. My words and images are company for each other. Sometimes they are thick and tight and sometimes they are sharing the same real estate. One way or another, they have decided they belong together, and very often I agree.