I increasingly believe that you can find an appropriate artistic form for any story, any message. That is, no idea is too dull or too naive for some creative medium out there.
Find that medium, and you can endow your idea with grace and impact. Choose the wrong medium and, while not impossible, you’re likely in for a far greater challenge.
Over the years I’ve been known to document dreams. I do so mainly for the sake of interesting narratives I might employ to other use, not for psychoanalysis.
Now during some periods, I would obstinately record every forsaken detail of every dream I could recall by morning. Mostly, I’ve found this unsustainable. Too much anxiety to rush for the pen, although more importantly, most of these entries, upon later revision, have produced little interest.
These days I jot down only those dreams and those details I believe could serve as vehicles to some creative content. Traditionally, I only envisioned short stories.
However, I’ve often found the dream details in themselves insufficient to produce a formidable short story.
Perhaps I haven’t found ways to synthesize the right combination of material. Perhaps I haven’t pursued the right stimuli. Or perhaps I’m not sufficiently creative for this format. I don’t have all the answers.
Now since last year I’ve opened to the poetic form, to which I’d before remained indifferent. Consequently, I began to write a bunch of poetry (the heavy majority of which I still contemplate what to do with).
More crucially, however, I’ve found far greater use for dreams among poetry. Far greater.
In part that’s due to the condensed nature: the potential to transmit fragmentary visions and emphasize emotion and lyricism over a grand narrative (though there’s narrative poetry for that as well).
The devices of rhetoric manipulation, symbolism and allusion that I particularly enjoy, I’ve found much easier to employ in poetry than prose in a way that produces cohesion; in a way that satisfies at least my own aesthetic conception.
Of equal importance, I’ve also found easier to navigate the bi-directional avenue of creation: whereas in prose, I’ve found words to mostly follow ideas, in poetry, I’ve as often derived ideas from words, resulting in a perpetual cycle of
Ideas -> words -> new ideas -> new words -> …
Maybe my ultimate inclination for poetry owes to the underlying preference: to my voracious drive for reading vast amounts of it across many generations. With short stories, beyond my predilection for Edgar Allan Poe, I’ve simply lacked the same intrinsic curiosity.
And any amateur or seasoned prodigy would probably agree: that whatever your creative medium, you need to expose yourself to as much therein that exists in order to produce with any consistency, not to mention quality. Or not?
Whatever the case, I’ve found easier to transmit the more extravagant dream contents of my mind into poetry than prose. But others need not limit to that choice alone.
There is fine art: drawing, sketching, painting, embroideries, engravings - the alternate means to express emotion based on an even more fragmentary and ephemeral imaginative frame.
And fine art can tell a story: not a story explicitly communicated per the prosaic form, but a story suggested, hinted at; one which the observer’s mind, if inclined, takes care to stretch across three dimensions.
For the theatrically motivated, there’s Drama. Or performance art. You can choreograph a particular dance that tells a story.
For the musically driven, the situation is similar. A musical composition can be leveraged as means to express emotion and even a story, similar to fine art, though one need be attuned to this method of interpretation.
For the classically trained, tone poems particularly exemplify narrative-oriented composition. (ie: Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition, Gustav Holst’s The Planets, Rimsky Korsakov’s Scheherazade).
Whatever your vision, there’s likely a medium for it.
You might dream of nothing more than, say, a winged plantain that plays the Berimbau. The vision might scarcely produce a short story. But it can make for an interesting lyric. And with certainty it can lend to one of the many visual forms.
Questions, comments? Connect.