Is this a piece of art? If it had the name Jackson Pollock then you would all say 'yes, of course.' But actually the signature in the corner is mine. It is something I did a few years ago. At the time it was my idea of how creativity is perceived. And to some extent I still agree with myself, however, I see it more as a beginning. It represents that spark of an idea. It is vaguley connected but basically all over the place. This randomness is smoothed out by research. It could be the background research that gives your writing depth and credibility. It could be the reading of books that are similar or have had a direct though probably unconscious impact on your writing. I don't consider this smoothing out as a straightforward process, as any research undertaken so further sparks of idea are inspired as can be seen above. I would suggest that it only reaches that totally symmetical gyre as you reach the end of the process. At the risk of repeating myself - this is my own personal chaosmos - out of chaos (the picture above) comes order (see below):
I told my students last week that this week we are going to discuss where creativity is based. Is it in the work or in yourself. Some bright spark suggested the pen which I suppose is not totally wrong. As though we are discussing where it might be based I would suggest there is no answer as I think is creativity is everywhere and sometimes we try to look too hard for answers. I'd rather just accept the fact it exists and not analyse it - or is that just a cop out?!
This rather randomly leads on to how many times I have to justify the fact I am doing a creative writing PhD. The usual comment is: it isn't a 'normal/proper' (fill in as you feel appropriate) PhD is it? Why not? It involves just as much, if not more (pause for screams of anger), research and analysis so what makes it not normal or proper. OK I am going to stop there as I may get into rant mode and this not what my blog is about.
I am still struggling with my writing which is distressing in itself. I have got find a way back to it, I have all these ideas in my head but when it comes to writing all that gets in the way is just the technical stuff and not the story. How do you get over that? Is that the disadvantage of making something like creative writing an academic process? Or, and something which I believe more, the fact I study the subject means I should be able to find a way through. Wish me luck!