I had a picture in my head that I wanted to share, because it makes a whole lot of sense to me about the way that I create art, and the way that I see the world.

Imagine first that every person, event, concept, experience, and everything that is a noun is a light source.
Imagine next that every person’s viewpoint is a prism.
Imagine then that every time a person intentionally adopts a different view or creates a piece of art even partially based in reality, that makes a new prism.

Now imagine what kind of light pattern that makes, and how all those prisms refract new types and shades of light into other prisms, throwing light and shade and color onto each other and their surroundings and making this amazing field of experience that would otherwise never be possible, if all we had were just the original light sources.

I’ve finally figured out why art is so damned important to me – because a world without prisms would be a boring world, and I hate being bored.

Navel-gazing metaphor time:
We start as babies, lying in our cribs staring up at a mobile of beautiful prisms made by other people, admiring them and watching the pretty lights play on the ceiling. We cannot touch or understand them, but we stare at them for hours on end, fascinated.
We grow to where we can stand, grasping the edges of our cribs, reaching for the prisms, trying to catch the pretty lights, to hold them in our hand. Eventually we will be tall enough to reach what we grab for – and then we learn a hard, nasty lesson, because prisms can cut. And we bleed, and cry, and do not understand why so beautiful a thing that fascinates us would hurt us so. And for a little while, we hate the prisms, and curse them, and we hate the light they throw, even while we are fascinated by it.
Eventually, we learn that only if we grab them can they cut us – if we merely touch them, and if we are careful and responsible, we can make our prism mobiles swing and dance in the light without being hurt. When we are adults, with skills and motor control, we can even make our own prisms, to hang on our mobiles and make our own pretty lights, in the colors we love the best. Whether they are new colors or more of the same is up to us – how bright, how faceted, how intertwined with the others, we get to choose it all!
It is hard work to make your own prism, but you get to make it your very own. If you are careless, it will cut you, and that will hurt like a son of a bitch. But having your very own prism is worth it – and having something so delicate, so beautiful, so amazing, is worth all the risk and pain and work. No store-bought mobile can compare.

I spent a couple of hours writing tonight, and that was the picture I had in my head behind the story. I like making my own prisms, even when the work is sharp enough to make me bleed and cry. This story hurts, and hurts a lot, but the prism it is making is worth it. A mobile of my very own, with pieces of myself and my world broken apart and put back together differently, faceted and casting new and different light and making a whole new world in a different shape, that tells a story all together different from my own. It is a genuinely fascinating process, because it is an exercise in paradox. I am writing about things that I know very, very intimately – and creating people who are strangers to me, who are refractions. “Write what you know” becomes a very different thing, in that context. There is nothing new under the sun, but sunlight looks very different through a differently angled facet.

Now I must only make sure my jeweler’s loupe does not go out of focus.

Yep, I’m feeling archaic and overwrought tonight. Writing emotional things does that. Tomorrow, more fighting-writing, and probably I’ll blog lots of obscenities and about living fiercely. It’s a phase.