There is something fundamental about masks. We have worn them throughout the ages and we wear them figuratively every day. The work of Damselfrau, working name of artist Magnhild Kennedy, is a stunning example of the power and beauty of the Mask.
In Visual Atelier 8, Damselfrau was asked:
It can be argued that the mask exists as an art object, as an investured pseudo personae, as a hiding space, as a symbolic representation, or even as a simple cultural adornment. With this multimodality of meaning in mind, is the mask as everything here stated, and more, or might it in your view, possess one quintessential overarching quality?
In reply she said: The main power is transformative. Most of all it’s simply just fundamentally human, isn’t it?
I also think some things exist past our ability to fully articulate them. A mask belongs there. A part of me wants to know the what and how of them… but then I step back, step back and allow the magic to be there free from dissection and cognitive comprehension. Much like ‘too many cooks spoil the broth’, dissecting something magical robs it of its power and removes its mystery, it takes something wondrous and places it into the mundane.
For me, and it is very personal how creatives tackle this, the alchemy of creating stories and the writing process are in that same situation. I don’t want to dissect a story, I don’t want to disect why it has come to me, or why I am driven to create it; I simply want to be in the experience of creating it.
Damselfrau says something similar about her mask making, she says she doesn’t plan, she just remains present with the mask as it is made, following the journey the materials take her, not trying to plan or ‘design it’ as such.
In my stories, I specifically leave some of the aspects of character and motivation unexplained not only to the reader but to myself as the writer. As a reader and even as a the writer, its comforting to know, to ‘see behind the mask’ of a character. But by getting that insight into a character we categorize them, slip them into a box. Their magic leaks away. Stories and the characters in them need magic and power to make you love them, to have them resonate with their symbolic and archetypal lineage.
The other element of not fully explaining a character is that we are ostensibly hidden from ourselves. We don’t fully know why we do what we do and why we feel as we do, even if we think we do. When I write I don’t always look for answers so much as congruency, that sense that the flow of a character feels right to itself. I think a character can’t be fully revealed and consciously resolved to themselves. As we have our figurative masks in life they do too; they can be resolved to a satisfying level to the reader but not fully and most certainly not to themselves.
As a writer, I find the process of writing one that almost asks me to step into a character much like stepping into the mask, placing it on and looking through it, imbuing oneself with its world view and the world’s view of it.
Have a look at her work and see what you might wear ….. I have chosen some above that would easily part of Elsa’s world….
A fellow writer friend, Cassandra L Shaw, shared this video. The visualizations of bird sounds.
It reminded me of another philosopher, musician and writer David Rothernburg. he’s written some interesting books, one is Why do Birds Sing. There is a Cd where he plays along with the birds on his clarinet. you can listen to some samples on amazon HERE
He says that to understand bird song you need the knowledge of the scientist the poet and the musician.
Giant bubbles on the beach, beautiful <3
I just have to share this amazing human being. The wonderful world-wide-web bumped me into the work of Ray Collins, Photographer. Incredibly beautiful photography of the sea. Interestingly he is colour blind and said that it has most likely made him more aware of shape, movement and light. You can see that in his work, the architectural forms that are reminiscent of Henry Moore. The shades of light we might see in glass blowing. Nice video below introducing him and his work.
There is a pocket of love in the air above an open flower.
It reaches out with invisible fingers and draws us in.
The kiss is so soft, so tender it is experienced only as the heady scent of its breath.
© E Holland
Image © Dascha Friedlová
Just got a book in the mail.
How Forests Think by Eduardo Kohn.
I feel like I want to stalk around it a while before I pick it up and start the read. I can already feel that its going to do something to the way I see things and think. Love that about a book but its also hard work. A commitment to go on a journey, rearrange all the closets in your mind.
I don’t know about you but I store ideas, stories, facts and experiences that may not ‘fit’ in any particular world view I hold but never the less are pertinent or intriguing in some way that I want to keep them handy. Like a jigsaw piece that you put to the side and wait for the moment when its space is created and you can fit it into the whole. I tend to do this a lot with my relationship with nature. You can probably tell by the imagery in my blog and my prose that this inter-phase with nature and self is an important theme for me.
There are 3 things that are floating in my mind as I think about starting this book. A kind of anticipation “will this book go part of the way in helping me to add these pieces together” They are pretty ‘out there’ and a bit of a ramble to explain so I’ll spare myself the disclosure. But the interesting thing is having not thought about them for years they are brushing off the dust and eager for me to start the read while taking them into account.
I find a similar thing happens when writing romance. Themes come up and coalesce and they seem to awaken pertinent things that connect; an article I read, lyrics to a song, a mood, images, a movie. They all seem to step forward to bring a symbolic wallpaper around the desk as I write infusing the story and characters.
These more anthropological/shamanistic reads like How Forests Think, do the same thing but on me directly rather than a manuscript.
Anyway perhaps I’m just procrastinating…..I’ll have to put genre aside for a few nights and sink into the amazon…. the book promises.. ‘to call into question our central assumptions about what it is to be human’…. hmmmmm. I definitely see a mental spring clean to assimilate even a fraction of what that promises.
If I get excited I’ll share.