Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing & Publishing ~

Evolution of A Muse In Fictional Worlds

Another Behind The Scenes post about Notes from An Alien today :-)

These happen every Friday and sometimes have spoilers, though I don’t think today’s will—never fear, if I change my mind before I’m done writing, I’ll alert you—plus, the best way to inoculate yourself against spoilers is to read the book—it’s short and Free—Grab A Copy :-)

I’ve used something called Active Imagination for many years—introduced by the psychologist Carl G. Jung.

If your a writer, the following description of Active Imagination will have a familiar ring—if your a reader, it will tune you in to an interior function of writers (it’s a rather long excerpt but could be enough information to let you experiment with the technique):

Active imagination is a technique developed by Jung to help amplify, interpret, and integrate the contents of dreams and creative works of art. When approached by way of writing, active imagination is like writing a play. One takes, for example, a figure that has appeared in one’s dreams or creative writings. Usually, these figures express a viewpoint quite the opposite of one’s normal conscious view. Sometimes it is a male, shadow figure. At other times, it may be a feminine, anima, or maternal figure. One starts to converse with the figure in writing. One challenges the dream figure and lets him/her challenge the dreamer. The dreamer asks the figure why he appeared in the dream. He asks the figure what it wants from him. Then, the ego, like a playwright, puts himself as best he can into the figure’s shoes and tries to express it and defend its viewpoint. There ensues an iterative dialogue between the writer and the opposite figure in his dream or piece of writing. With practice one can become accomplished at expressing both viewpoints, just as a playwright does. One gets better at this the more one does it, just as the playwright does. The technique of active imagination tends to detach the qualities and traits that are first seen in a dream or in a story as belonging to external persons, and coming to see them as belonging to one’s self. Active imagination, then, helps the writer become conscious of his opposite qualities by forcing him to give voice to figures, like shadow figures, that carry qualities opposite those of his ego. These qualities personify the rejected opposites that are present in the unconscious. This technique helps recover these rejected opposites and make them available to the ego and consciousness without necessarily having to act them out.”

One note: The process can be done without actually writing anything

In my 20s, when I first encountered the concept of The Muse, I’d also become familiar with Active Imagination.

I began a decades-long, conscious relationship with Her

By the way, my belief is that most men have a female Muse (Jung would call her the Anima) and most women have a male Muse (Jung’s term, Animus).

Yes, this post is still about the short novel Notes from An Alien but I must relate an important bit of personal history.

I named my Anima Delva before my daughter was born—her mother named her Audra—we did not confer on either name

The importance of this fact for the novel is that most of the main characters’ names end in the Ah sound:

Rednaxela, Xela, Zena, Mura, Verta, Sena, Morna, and Delva…

Yes, I named a main character after my Anima—plus, most of the other female characters are “relatives” of my Anima—my Muse

Also, the Ah sound (which also extends to place names {Anga, Anla, Angla}) is a technique (which some readers struggle with) to introduce an “alien” quality into a book where the characters (by necessity) act quite like humans from Earth

So, while the most obvious reason for my writing Notes from An Alien was to portray a civilization, struggling with War and Greed and reaching toward Tranquility and Peace, I also wrote it, on a much deeper level, as a way to evolve my relationship with my Muse :-)

Also, a man and his Anima always relate as a Team to other women (whether the man is aware of the Anima component or not).

I bring this up because of a previous post here called, Writing & Games ~ Sometimes It’s Hard To Tell Which Is Which…

In that post, I talk about my using a Flight Simulator to give me time that’s detached from the everyday world so I can read deeply, ponder, and meditate about my writing

In my plane, I have passengers—some are folks I know who are living and some have passed into the Beyond, while some are my characters

I invite them on board in case they want to give me advice or counsel

This is an extension of my practice of Active Imagination

And, today is the Birthday of one of my Passengers (though for her, it was yesterday since she’s in Australia)—she’s the one who sits in the co-pilot’s seat :-)

Looking forward to your comments on this post and, please, don’t forget, you can ask me Any questions about the book in Any of these Friday posts
Read more Behind the Scenes posts…
Our Comment Link Is At The Top of The Post :-)
For Private Comments, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com
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4 responses to “Evolution of A Muse In Fictional Worlds

  1. JournalForCreativity (@J4Creativity) June 28, 2013 at 3:58 pm

    Hi Alex, Do you always use a construction like the plane trip to channel your energies or do you also use medative states to contact her?


  2. Jane Watson June 30, 2013 at 9:53 am

    Thank you for your birthday wishes.. and the free plane trip!! I try and use meditative states too, plus music and I like to draw…I have never tried being a co-pilot of a plane though and it sounds wild! But my muse is more of a nature lover I suspect and hangs out a lot in a garden of my imagination :-) And yes folks who no longer frequent this world, visit me there too…. :-)


    • Alexander M Zoltai June 30, 2013 at 12:59 pm

      Well, Jane, it would certainly be interesting if we could get a whole raft of writers to comment here and share what they feel they can about their Inner Lives :-)

      I appreciate what you’ve shared


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