I am working on a book that maps out my own journey into the creative heart. I hope that it may inspire others when it is finished. This first few lines of a poem and the two paragraphs following it are a short extract from a chapter I wrote around the time of Halloween.
Raven - Iona Jenkins
A solitary black raven
Balancing on a sycamore
Swaying shadow silhouette
On a swirling backdrop
Of autumnal misting sky
And water grey sea wash...
We exist in two worlds. First there is the outer world of form with its conscious mind, knowledge intellect and logic. Then, there is the inner world of the unconscious mind with its dreams, imagination and intuition. Within and without, both worlds are alive with wondrous things to fill my poems and stories. The unconscious sometimes requires a guide and on the time of All Souls or Halloween, I chose to fly with the raven on an inner world quest for inspiration.
I acknowledge the raven as a symbol, a bird of the mysteries - wise and protective. The creature has that look about her, as though she could glide through the night into forgotten corner of the unconscious where creative treasures lay hidden. Black as midnight, she is a sleek Amazon amongst birds with her impressive jagged wingspan, sparkling eye and a solid curved beak that gives her such an ancient appearance. Her voice is raucous, strident like a wake up call as she struts bossily across the grass or sails on sea winds, fearless and sure of herself in all weathers
The wheel of the year has turned through the spring equinox, the clocks have been put forward and the light has changed. The World is renewed and we have a chance to move on if we are so inclined.
I open up my senses to warmer air, increased birdsong, the feeling of growth beneath my feet, as our mother the Earth gives birth to a bright abundance of flowers like light bursting skyward back towards the sun that first warmed their seeds. It’s a time of renewed hope, of creative and personal possibility, responsibility towards the planet that sustains us, a time to begin new projects and to look forward to the promise of celebration that summer brings. I for one, have been inspired to write several poems and to write down headings for a new creative writing project that is neither fiction nor poetry and which I hope will be a quick flowing stream by the time of the summer solstice. More about this later if everything goes to plan and the muse is good to me.
After the Storm*
On spring’s edge I awake in sunshine
Golden warm and light upon my face
And bright Cardiff Bay sharp glittering
After the rage of gale and white storm
When the air rings and sings with birds
When silent hideaway time has ended
Icy snow transforms in rippling rivulets
And yet a strange sense of quiet descends
Beyond the bird and windsong in the trees
Like the world and I are both washed clean
And something in my space has changed
A Scots pine supporting, holding as I see
An open door a lighter path, a brighter me.
*From The Starlit Door, 2018
Sometimes inspiration comes out of the blue and takes me into a land of story. When this happens, then characters also begin to appear. Some writers develop their characters from people-watching but when I was writing my Lumenor trilogy, because it was fantasy, the characters often arose from the effect of particular landscapes working on my imagination, or sometimes originated from the magic of myths and legends, which brought their own inspiration.
The lives and personalities of characters develop as a story unfolds and though I always know how the tale begins and ends, the middle is like fertile ground that influences the possibilities. When the soil in the garden of my imagination gives birth to new characters, they will usually name themselves quite spontaneously and because I am also a very visual creature, they will often appear on the canvas of my mind as bright images, painted from an artist’s palette of colour – height, build, colouring, etc. The characters, begin to develop their own individual voices in which I can relate their stories. Often they take over, so that their dialogue and the scenarios they play out surprise me, since the content may be composed of ideas I didn’t know I had. They fit together then, in ways I had not expected, creating equally surprising conclusions as I begin to live in their world, listening to the stream of dialogue flowing through me.
Of course, I live in South Wales and not in Lumenor, though the boundaries between legend and reality can blur whilst I am writing. Closing the file at the end of a session is like closing a Unicorn Gate and re-entering the everyday world.
Writing poetry and reflections, I connect to the ever-flowing stream of inspiration as it flows through me connecting my imagination and life experience to the living breathing universe we all live in. The Welsh Bards referred to the stream of inspiration as AWEN. In one of my Italian poems, much inspired by the art in Rome as well as the landscape, I described it as the Language of Angels.
I am taking a break right now from the Legends of Lumenor, though I still have a set of keys to re-open the Unicorn Gate should I want to return to this mystic magical world later. Meanwhile, I continue to produce poetry and reflections for a possible future collection as I wait for the angels to sing or the stream of Awen to flow with ideas for a new writing project.
May the Harp of Creation sing for you.
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