For most of our lives we are bombarded with positive motivation and reinforcement from the likes of ‘You’ve got this’ to ‘You’re doing great’ and or even ‘Keep going it’ll work out’. We hear lines like this so much from people we may love and trust or respect and yet they seem to hold little favour most of the time. We often dismiss them out of belief that they are being said for the sake of being said. Then somehow someway the very same words that have been spoken to you, aimed at you, to encourage you to get your arse up off the sofa and do something hit you. Instantly sobering you. It all of a sudden all makes sense. The building blocks tumble dramatically into place. I don’t know why it takes us sometimes so long to realise or why it requires so many re-iterations before it makes sense or why it takes the very same words to be spoken by the mouth of a stranger but it so often does before it all makes sense.
Such a phenomena happened to me just this past weekend, while out drinking amongst friends, in passing my girlfriend mentioned of how I often go on about writing, of wanting to, of trying to make something of it and yet continue to do so little actively about it. It wasn’t said maliciously or anything. I was a part of the conversation, each of us talking of ambitions and the like and yet as she spoke those words and they hit, like cold water. She has long encouraged me in my writings and long championed them, finding sites for me to submit to, offering to read my pieces and just generally asking about my writings. Those words though and their meaning and encouraging nature finally hit that evening. I can’t say why it took till that evening for them to sink in but it did. They struck. We continued with our evening, all but myself oblivious to the sudden churning of internal feelings and ideas racing about me, drinking and chatting. It all came to a head on an extremely sobering and somber train ride home, as the final of the blocks slipped into place it all made sense. It was a much needed moment to finally get my arse in gear to produce and finally submit a piece of work outside of this here humble blog. To begin diversifying myself and pushing myself towards my goal. Shamelessly I’ll leave the link to the fruits of said labour at the bottom of this here post if you care to read it.
While there can be the cold sobering slap of words that finally send everything tumbling in to place there is also something else that Gillen cites as the Privilege of Imagination. Gillen being that of Kieron Gillen a fantastic writer of the likes of Phonogram and The Wicked and The Divine and the upcoming series Die. Now before I butcher the poor mans words you can read them for yourself here. (Beginning at “I found myself thinking about permission and creativity, and how the two intersect”). In brief the piece talks anecdotally and clearly about the privilege of knowledge and of the ability to imagine ones self as doing or being something. For instance say you wish to be an artist but only know of the classical painters and have been told again and again that you need a traditional education in the arts to ever become that which you seek. When in fact you can take a spray can and stencils and make art or a pen, pencils, crayons, literally anything and make art of it and become an artist. Saying so will seem to most incredibly obvious but that is the privilege of information, to be in the know, such wealth is not as evenly shared as one might think. For another example and for one much closer to home while in the process of explaining the concept Gillen mentions how in his pursuit of becoming a writer he produced near 300 pages of photo-comics. For the simple fact that more than anything he wished to write comics and with no discernible talent for drawing or the ability to afford an artist he turned to producing comics from pre-existing imagery. Once said it seems like the most obvious of things and I can’t believe I never thought of it nor could even imagine it, it has opened up a whole new realm of possibilities in my own personal pursuit of producing comics.
Sometimes it takes a moment, even a drink infused one followed by a sobering train ride, for something that has been said a million times to sink and to make sense and at others it just needs to be said, to be shared, to be imparted. As while it may seem obvious to a privileged few others could be completely oblivious to it. As Hesse said through the vessel of Siddhartha, we can not communicate wisdom but we can knowledge. Keep telling that person their amazing, that they’re doing a great job, that you love them for one day it will hit home and all make sense and mean the world to them.