Let The Light Shine Through by Cheryl Owen-Wilson
Throughout history story has spoken. From papyrus pages, to the blue light of the electronic devices of today, story speaks. And it speaks in many voices.
First there is the actual story. It’s spoken through the words woven together by the author. It will have a protagonist, an antagonist and hopefully an interesting plot.
The second story is spoken within the recesses of the readers mind. It speaks through the many filters of the reader’s own life experiences.
The third story remains silent, waiting for the reader to understand its language. It is the hidden voice, the underlying message, the writer intended the reader to receive beyond the story itself.
In my vision of these three scenarios I first see words dancing on a page. They line up perfectly to create the original story. But as they enter the readers mind, they rearrange and become filtered through that reader’s knowledge creating the second story. I visualize the final story as a bright light shining through each blank space on the page. This bright light is the underlying message the author hoped to convey to his reader.
A very simply analogy for this would be the story most every child has heard “The Boy Who Cried Wolf”. The light shining through this story is quite simple. Don’t lie.
What is the bright light shining through your story?
The words written above were to serve as my very simple blog for today. However, I felt compelled to add the following.
Today, many of my writing friends are struggling with creative paralysis. Said paralysis is due to the aftermath of our Presidential Election of last week. I was also paralyzed for several days. So, I will address this strictly from my perspective.
I had a very visceral reaction to the headline in my local paper on November 9th. I knew when I went to sleep the night before, what the outcome would be. I did not anticipate my severe reaction upon seeing it in huge black lettering splashed across the front page. Such is the power of the written word. I’m not going to go into the “whys” of my reaction. But I do feel my journey to understanding and ultimately breaking through my paralysis bares relevance in regards to having an artistic block of any kind.
After my initial reaction to the newspaper, I attempted to plug ahead. I tried placing words on the page for my current work in progress. But the voices in my head, my muses, my friends, would not speak to me about my WIP. No, they were a mess, confused, angry and yes very depressed. I tried silence them, but they wouldn’t listen. So I sat down and listened to them. They had a lot to say. Then I did what I always do. I wrote what they had to say. What came of it was this poem. Not a great poem, but I hope my message does shine brightly through the words.
I believe in equal pay, for an equal workday.
I believe in a woman’s right to choose. It is her body. It is her views.
I believe no one should dictate whom you can, and cannot choose as your life partner. With love there is no compromise, no barter.
I believe Mother Earth needs more tender loving care. Climate change is here. Just look. It is all around us. It is everywhere.
I believe the seeds of hate are sown through fear, and some wield it like a victory spear.
Above all I believe in the innate goodness I see shining from every face. Regardless of its color or its race.
Finally, I believe, it is what we believe that shines through between the blank spaces in our stories.
Once my voices felt heard, they settled back into the rhythm of my current WIP. However, when I started placing words to page, I realized I had a new, hyper sense of being. I recognized my antagonist had become darker, and my protagonist more determined in her quest. My plot had grown more complex and strewn with innumerable obstacles. When I began, I had a vague sense of a positive resolution in my story. While that hasn’t changed, I now know it will be quite a long road before the final victory.
Then there is the flip side of my creative mind. It is my painting world. I can’t wait to start placing color, much color. You might even say a rainbow of color over large patches of red.
Yes we artists speak in many ways. We have many voices.
What is the first thing a civilization saves when it is threatened? It saves the writings and art created by that civilization, because it is the only way to record for all eternity the diversity of so many.
So dear friends if you’ve found yourself, if not blocked, at least at odds with your current environment, I encourage you to write. I encourage you to paint, draw, and create. Let your voices be heard, let the light shine through speaking loudly.
“Story Time” Original Art by Cheryl Owen-Wilson