Sunday, July 11, 2010

I Don't Believe in ESP, But...

Actually, there’s no “but.” I don’t believe in ESP. Period.

In The Right to Write: An Invitation and Initiation into the Writing Life, Julia Cameron has a chapter on ESP, and includes a number of other concepts as well, like reincarnation, psychic phenomena and something called “the Akashic Records.” She wasn’t advocating for any of these things; but there was more than a little head nod that something like these things can happen to writers.

I suppose I’m talking about something similar when I say imagination and inspiration.

For me, ideas for writing come from everywhere. Perhaps a better way to say that is that ideas come from everything. I once watched a PBS documentary, and went on to write a speech that changed the course of a company (it was a speech for someone else). I mentioned last week about how a song whose words I couldn’t translate (I don’t speak Italian) started a chain of ideas that ended up as two manuscripts. I drafted a blog post just this past week that started because I mentally focused on a corner of the building I work in (it wasn’t the corner, but the collection of offices that had been in that corner).

But it’s more than ideas, and I think I understand what Cameron is talking about when she talks about ESP. It’s not so much some psychic power as it is seeing the connections – the “connectedness” of things. I can look at a group of what seems to be totally different and unrelated things – and piece together how their connected. And my mind often works faster than my mouth can articulate the connections. That’s especially true for ideas and events. I look at ideas and read and see things on TV or at the movies and skim a story in the Wall Street Journal and then a blog post and see two interesting Twitter links and an interesting line in a novel and then – wham – something happens.

I don’t know why I think this way, but I do. It’s not ESP. It simply may be how something seen leads to something imagined and then creativity goes to work.


Over at The High Calling Blogs, Laura Boggess has been leading a discussion of Julia Cameron’s The Right to Write. Last week’s discussion was about sound, “writing but” and driving. This week’s discussion is about roots, ESP and cheap tricks.

Related:

On the Table Where I Write by L.L. Barkat at Seedlings in Stone.

ESP? by Nancy Kourmoulis at Treasures of Darkness.

Writing Rooted in Life by Charity Singleton at Wide Open Spaces.

Cheap Tricks by Cassandra Frear at Moonboat Cafe.

4 comments:

Maureen said...

I have to admit: I stopped reading Cameron's book. I haven't stopped reading the group's posts about it, however, which in many respects are, to me, far more interesting and insightful.

I agree with you that ideas come from anything and everything and then our mind works its alchemy. The ability to make connections, especially when combined with deep curiosity, can deliver both the delightful and the profound. It's best to join go where it leads.

n. davis rosback said...

i think i understand what you are talking about. and i like how you write it.

JC Dude said...

I get inspiration from many areas...even Startrek...please don't judge me! ;-0

Cassandra Frear said...

God helps us. He brings things to us when we work. It's that simple.

In our foolishness, we may call it by other names. Regardless, in His great generosity, he continues to pour out his help. He is utterly good. We simply don't understand. And we want to do it ourselves, call it by our own names.

How amazed we will be in heaven when we see just how much he did on our behalf, how it flowed out of him into our lives all the time.

We never work alone.