Saturday, February 20, 2010

Simple Complexity: Inspiration

Objects or scenes that appear simple often reveal hidden complexity. I think this is what first draws me into a story--not a complex idea, but something so pure and simple that it haunts and engages the mind.

The above scene, for instance, is merely a hallway with afternoon light flirting with the wall and door. I'm drawn to this sight. I like that contrast of light and shadow, and I'm intrigued by the fleeting nature of that particular pattern of light. Can I capture an instant, can I understand why it appeals, can I recreate the scene in words, and can I do it in a  simple and pure way? Can I resist cluttering it in the rendering of it?

Here's another photo to illustrate:

At first glance, this might appear to be a poorly-taken photograph of a framed silkscreen (two fish swimming in the sea)–'poorly-taken' because of the reflection that obscures the painting. But if you look closer, you see that 'within' the silkscreen of two fish is the reflection of wintry birch branches outside the room wherein this artwork hangs. For me, this becomes more than a simple reflection of light and shadow on the wall; it holds a story with many layers, a story of contrasts and parallels that wants to be told. Can I plumb the depths of that story and yet convey those depths in an uncluttered and pure way?

Heavy thoughts for a simple Saturday afternoon, mm?


  1. Yes, these layers of reality, tipped and turned by fingers of light. This is exactly what a writer does. Shining light over and through negative space to come up with an impression of the positive.

  2. Thanks for a simple, but complex, question to ponder!

  3. Thanks for sharing your blogsite. Great posts!

  4. I 'see' this all the time... I've always been intrigued by the passing moment in time and what it 'carries'. Great post!

  5. Funny...NPR is doing a 3 minute fiction contest and the entries must be inspired by a photo very similar to the photos above :-)
    These layers are very complex and inspiring for writers.

  6. This is a great post... I think artists are forced to look at the world this way, but writers often overlook the details, and thus miss out on the real art they could be creating.
    Your blog is beautiful, by the way!

  7. Estimada Sharon. Respecto a lo nimio siempre nos ofrece sorpresas. Quizá si nuestra mirada se dirigiera a este tipo de cosas, las relaciones tendrían un vuelo especial. Pero, como dice el filósofo Karel Kosik, el mundo de la pseudoconcreción agobia. Le dejo desde la ciudad de La Plata, Buenos Aires, un comentario más a su libro maravilloso, de excelentísima pluma y calidez un blog en castellano, claro. /
    abrazos gabriela

  8. Thank you for your visit to one of my blogs. I find this post of yours intruiging and enticing. I endeavour to drill into an instant in time in my Riff blog in the very way in which you have discussed. I would be honoured if you had time to take a look.

  9. I didn't realize you had a blog - so happy to find it!

    I just finished reading Heartbeat and posted my thoughts about it on my blog:

    I don't typically write in poetry, but I thought it would be fun to try it out for my response.