Imagination in Three Acts

Act 1: The Rouse

I snatched it. I did!

I snatched it, ensnared and bottled it, that elusive and seductive entity. Do you doubt me?

But wait—is it indeed an entity or must it, by definition, then be alive?

It happened today. The sky burned blue, peppered solely with one fascinating cloud. Cumulonimbus—the only cloud name recalled from childhood science, the ‘fat’ cloud, the thief. Yes, the thief!

Act 2: The Conundrum

For there I was, supine on garden chaise lounge, draping myself à la Bette Davis, feeling the full-force of dramatic existential crisis:

Am I a writer? I pondered to the non-responsive atmosphere above.

More questions followed, in the form of internal monologue:

A writer? Am I worthy of such declaration to friends, to family? Proclaiming writer’s status to the greater masses with whom I have only the flimsiest of relationships, based almost entirely on fibre optic cable giving juice to my internet? Perhaps I am now a dried-up writer. Has my creative brain dissolved to dust?

I panicked:

Shall I relinquish this over-glamourised life of words and word-count, plotting intricacies in novel form and pitching the perfect short story? Or, do I revert to nine-to-five clock-punching again?

Self-questioning perpetuated. Evidently I swept away into complete daydream, transported back in time where I graced The Silver Screen and not this current reality:

Perhaps I am not, in fact, Bette Davis but Mary Pickford—a queen of silent movies who looked quite fetching and had much to say yet her voice was muted. Maybe I am better off being silent. Damn!

I needed to get a grip.

I needed to snatch it or I would not survive.

If only the world was a film set. If only I could remain in the garden this sizzling afternoon with a pitcher of Mai Tais as companion. But, sadly, there the fantasy had to end.

Act 3: The Revelation

I began this week with a confession to my blog, a confession of infidelity. Now, another confession: this afternoon’s garden drama was purely an exercise in procrastination, to avoid my laptop. Also, neighbours consider my random 1940’s starlet shtick quite worthy of over-the-fence-tittle-tattle so there was a bit of folly in my temporary madness.

But just when I was resigned to beam back to 2017 and stare frustratingly at a blank Word document, it happened. There it appeared. That aforementioned elusive and seductive entity. Playing hide-and-seek in the sky, held captive by the porcine cloud overhead.

I glimpsed it.

I fluttered lashes and narrowed my focus.

I zeroed in on the spot.

No, it was gone again.

Wait—it’s there!

Stay still! I shouted skyward, alerting Sue at number nineteen to raise her head from weeding flowerbeds.

I unfolded body, reached up into an elongated pose that would have knocked Bob Fosse’s socks off, and I snatched it. And now it is mine.

Imagination. There it was. All this time. Up there. Sleeping on soft clouds, mocking me when it awoke.

I clutched it to my silk gown—no, more a practical playsuit—and felt its energy reverberate within.

Amongst the garden weeds and daffodils, I stood jolted to life by the surge of imagination. In seconds, its petrol fumes ignited my mind and body to action. I high-tailed it from outdoor film set to indoor sound stage and now I am here.

Existential and creative crises have been banished to the stratosphere.

I am here, typing at speed and ready for my close-up.

Because I snatched it.

[Slow curtain, the end, as sassy Bette quipped.]

Thanks for reading. Just to remind: all writing and original photographs published on my blog are copyright of Estella Lynch and can only be reprinted by my permission.

On the Cusp of My Circus

Yesterday, I craved to write. A drought of days where I had not written a word had kept me awake at night for four days. Frustratingly, when a surge of words rumbled to my consciousness, I was either too busy prioritising other people’s needs or, on rare occasion, either floating in the bath or driving–both settings not conducive for tapping on a keyboard. Then last night, this stunning Chagall painting (The Blue Circus) popped up in my photos, along with a quote from the painter:

My hands were too soft…I had to find some special occupation, some kind of work that would not force me to turn away from the sky and the stars, that would allow me to discover the meaning of life.

At risk of hurtling over the wall into sentimentality, Chagall’s words broke through the writing barrier that had contained my creativity since last Friday. Understand this: far from bigging up my ego to the size of a buffalo, I confess that my writing is a slow-burn at the moment. My projects are diverse: two fiction manuscripts, a screenplay idea I am tweaking, a thickening compilation of short-stories ready to print and a pushed-to-capacity external hard-drive packed with ideas begging me to develop them to publication. Too many projects distracting me from mastering just one.

‘There is not enough time in the day!’ I shout at files in my laptop. My head often feels dizzy. It would be easier if I had not made the decision to write full-time; instead, be a casual writer, scribbling Haikus on beermats and banging out flash-fiction when a spare fifteen minutes cleared in my diary.

But I am on the cusp. I feel it. I felt it strongly last night when staring at Chagall’s upside-down woman painted brazenly red, the yellow moon aside her with violin, the green goat against vibrant blues in a chaotic masterpiece. Some days my life is a chaotic masterpiece. My writing is a chaotic masterpiece. It is a circus. Chagall said:

 For me a circus is a magic show that appears and disappears like a world.

So, today I begin to write again. Mundanely and monotonously, I was brushing my teeth this morning when a breakthrough idea about the protagonist in my novel burst in my head. I recognised that fluttering of excitement in belly, that urgency to transfer the idea from grey matter to grey MacBook before it evaporated. I strode with vengeance to computer. An hour later, I am here and my protagonist, Billie, has enjoyed a romp at The Metropolitan Museum of Art within the confines of a 3,000-word chapter. Apparently the answer for Billie was that I as starving her of art, so I delivered my main character to The Met where she, too, can stare at the beauty of Chagall.

With this new chapter added to my manuscript this morning, returning to my blog felt the next step. I sit here, ruminating over the supremely expressive Chagall, his paintings and his words again: ‘…some kind of work that would not force me to turn away from the sky and the stars, that would allow me to discover the meaning of life.’

I may not have discovered the meaning of life today but, damn it, I sit here on the cusp of creating a world of beauty for my life in words.

via Daily Prompt: Cusp