Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing & Publishing ~

Tag Archives: artist

What Is Soul? & Does Every Artist Have It?


My dictionary has, for its first definition of “artist”: “A person whose creative work shows sensitivity and imagination.”

When I check the root meanings for “soul” I find this first: “spiritual and emotional part of a person” plus “animate existence”; then there are a bunch of languages sources in a row, tracing its history to this interesting meaning: “of uncertain origin“.

No doubt the soul has always been a bit hard to nail down but it seems to appear that folks with “sensitivity and imagination” are clearly tuned into the difficult to describe qualities of soul.

I read a guest post from Haley Whitehall on Elle Beauregard’s blog called, On The Soul of An Artist.

Haley says: “Even when they are feeling the least creative, artists have something in common—they look at the world differently. They see the world as a place to express themselves….Writers can take English classes and artists can learn from professionals how to paint. People can learn the skills but if they do not have the soul of an artist nothing original will come of it. They will not look at the world differently.”

To me, that last sentence is extremely telling: “They will not look at the world differently.”

I wrote a comment to Haley about her post which said:

I think the distinction between “education, training, and talent” and “the way of perceiving life” is critical when deciding if one is a true creative artist.

I do think there’s a discernible difference between talent and creativity. A talented person can follow a pattern of making art and produce some extremely valuable work. A creative person will infuse any talent they have with the Soul that makes it much more than valuable work…

What are your thoughts and feelings?
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Facing Negative Criticism ~ Is Thinking Like An Artist The Same As Thinking Like A Normal Human?


Our last post, about criticism and using the integrity of the book to defend against negativity, had me saying this:

“At each stage of this process [all the steps of getting feedback on my book] I was of two minds: the merely human writer seeking perspective and the Artist, bearing the Book and feeling its Life and Truth…”

A merely human writer is any writer when they consider things from a conscious, objective, society-oriented perspective.

The Artist is the same writer when they consider things from a deeper-than-conscious, subjective, not-necessarily-society-oriented perspective.

Language is slippery and seems to favor, in most instances, a conscious, objective approach that engages some aspect of developed social structure.

Just comparing my sentences up there about a merely human writer and an Artist, just looking at what I had to do to contrast the two frames of mind is one example of how Language can respond to simple comparisons.

I could have used a more metaphorical approach:

A merely human writer thinks like the Manager of a shop full of creative people.

An Artist is the same writer when they think like a shop full of creative people.

I could take this comparison further into the waters of metaphor:

The merely human writer: “I was riding the waves of criticism, responding with what I had in the boat–signalling flags and lights, carrier pigeons with responses secured to their ankles; and, finally, I had to abandon the boat, floating with the aid of a life-vest but without the aid of my compass and map, now sinking with the boat.”

The Artist: “The sea of criticism broke its waves against the shore of my understanding. I lashed myself to the rocks and bore it all for love of my Muse.”

Just a bit exaggerated, eh? Also, those examples are only me giving voice to my perception of the different ways I handle the thoughts of other people when they share their negative opinions of my writing…

How do you handle negative criticism, how do the merely human and Artist aspects of your nature think and communicate when the waves start to rise?
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The Different Flavors of Reality ~ Where Do Creative Ideas Come From?


I may lose a few folks with these opening comments but to really “get” this post you should first read this one and then read this one. They’ll open in new windows so you can pop right back here… I totally recommend you read the comments on those posts, too. Seems our regulars are getting into the spirit of things :-)

For those who haven’t read those other posts, I’ll face the challenge of writing a synopsis:

Writers seem like strange creatures, always coming up with make-believes that seem real, talking to characters in their heads, spending lots of time absolutely alone…

Seems we writers are actually like other people but more so…

Writers use something everyone has but they use it more.

I’m going to insert an image, but first want to credit the man from whom it was adapted, William S. Hatcher. I found the diagram in his book, Logic & Logos. I should mention, mostly because the image implies it, that the theories of Carl Jung support Hatcher’s ideas.

MAP of REALITY

First, notice that Unconscious Reality and Conscious Reality are both Subjective: they are what each individual has “within” them…

Then, Visible Reality and Invisible Reality are both Objective: “outside” the individual…

Now, a little explanation of each flavor of Reality:

Conscious Reality: This is what far too many people think is the only reality. It’s the Ego-consciousness, the part of the mind that sees objects, the place where we do our thinking and shout in silence…

Visible Reality: This is the world-out-there. Again, far too many people think this is the only reality that’s outside their mind–if ya can’t see it, it ain’t real…

Invisible Reality: This flavor of Reality might sound totally strange but contemplate gravity–can’t see it but you definitely know it’s there. Magnetism is another part of Invisible Reality. And, if you really want to grasp this aspect of Reality, realize that most of what we call Social Reality–institutions, corporations, various civic offices–are also part of Invisible Reality. Sure there are Visible buildings and corporate headquarters and mayors but the concepts of institution, corporation, and office are truly invisible. There may be a President in the White House but you can’t actually see The Presidency…

Unconscious Reality: Now we’re into the area of Reality that writers (and any creative person) use so much. This is internal to a person. Most people don’t pay conscious attention to this part of their mind. It makes itself known, whether a person wishes it or not, in dreams, day-dreams, sudden speech we often wish hadn’t left our mouths, and other interesting manifestations.

The Unconscious Mind of each individual is also, apparently, connected at its deepest levels with what might be called the Memory of Humanity–the Collective Unconscious–but this memory isn’t passive; it has energy and purpose and has powered many a fine conscious idea…

So, to summarize:

There are, at least, four realms of Reality and two of them are inside us. Most people cling to their Conscious Reality and shun the Unconscious. They leave themselves open to bad dreams, embarrassing social gaffs, troublesome relationships, and even increased illness…

Writers (and other creative types) take advantage of their Unconscious Reality. It either flows up to the conscious mind without bidding and is accepted as a resource for creativity or they work to make it manifest its images and energies.

I hope you read those two earlier posts I recommended and it would be just fantastic if you’ve checked out the other links. Now, I will eagerly anticipate the continuation of the conversation from the earlier posts’ Comments………
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