Over Christmas (how are we already over half way through the year?) I read the wonderful new book from musician Amanda Palmer. And this book made me think. A lot.
The book is called The Art of Asking (if you’re an artist of any sort, go look it up now, beg, borrow, steal, buy a copy – there’s also a wonderful audio book version, read by Amanda herself), and through the book Amanda explores her own experiences of reaching out and asking for things, as an artist – a woman, a human, as well as exploring her life as an artist. In the book, Amanda talks about so many important things that instantly struck a chord with me. This was a book I wanted to underscore lines in, circle words, highlight, fold pages down, talk about to other people. I wanted to be able to broadcast these statements to everyone, say, look, this is why I do what I do – this will help you to understand me.
Amanda writes about the Fraud Police, the desire to “create”, finding your own path, and so much more. I could go on and on, but this isn’t a book review (I think I wrote a book review on my old blog). Instead, I wanted to pull up a particular quote that struck me and has stuck with me ever since.
In the book, Amanda talks about how as artists/writers/creators and human beings, we pull together all those different things that have happened to us or that we have seen or experienced, and connect them up. For some, this is right away – others it may be years down the line.
But things connect in unexpected and unusual ways.
Often a story for instance will pull out a strand that you realise relates back to something that happened ten years ago – or something that happened last week.
Creating is a way of putting together all of life’s different dots and connecting them up like a giant puzzle or join the dots, in a way that makes everything finally make sense.
And for me, that is a big reason why I write and why I love writing. Writing is a lifeline, the blood that flows through me. Writing allows me to make sense of the world, life, and everything around me. It allows me to connect to the past, to things I have read or seen or heard. There’s nothing like looking back at something you wrote years ago and realising that actually, you were writing about this, when you thought you were writing about something else entirely. But isn’t that why everyone writes – creates? To make sense of this crazy world we live in? To understand our hurts and triumphs – loss and love?
The whole process of creativity is a fascinating one, and one that is different for everyone. But, when you break it down, you find that for everyone, it is a process of connecting the dots – in whatever way it works for you.
As a writer I tend to gather material (collecting), from life, observation, reading, watching, and then at some point, those different points will connect, before I share it – whether with a blog audience, a friend or a family member.
In some ways, I suppose, this very blog is my way of collecting different observations and thoughts, connecting them together, and sharing them with my readers.
Whatever you create, these are words to live by – in my opinion anyway. Do you find yourself connecting the dots?