July 25, 2012 at 8:12 pm | Posted in writing | 12 Comments
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“every artist’s strictly illimitable country is himself … and thus I readily conjured a gorgeous and dangerous play world”
ee cummings

My imagination is not a world in which I feel restrained. In fact, like ee cummings, I build the idea of ‘illimitable’ into the concept of imagination since that is how it differs from reality. Reality is a restraint, we are faced with the limits of the possible and the existing, the process of imagination is the act of going beyond perception into the realm of that which does not yet exist.

For a long time I toyed with the idea of imagining things into being. This is not a ‘magical’ concept but a practical one. All things human made, except those which occur by accident or chance, are imagined into being. Before they are created as objects or ideas in the world, buildings and bridges are imagined by architects, nations by founders, books by writers.

“The Way bears sensation,
Sensation bears memory,
Sensation and memory bear abstraction,
And abstraction bears all the world”
Tao Te Ching

Of course the reverse is also true, it is simply a matter of direction and flow. A kind of oscillation or expansion and retraction. The process, in this two way formation, is not so much abstraction as fictionalization. I was trying to write a poem in which a simple object, a glass bead, exists in total isolation from any context. I found it impossible.

The bead, as it exists in my imagination, instantly creates a context, so I placed it in a painting, the painting then existed in a frame, the frame in an easel, the poem in the world. The painter, distracted momentarily by thoughts of Louise, returns to his realm of imagination, and remembers Bede.

“This is only a connection because of the empty sound of the words,” he says. But the confluence of vowel sounds, ‘bead’, ‘Louise’ is a pleasure to him in and of itself. It seems that this process of imagining things into being requires some bridge and that bridge is not silence.



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  1. amazing. when was it written? i would like to know the position to set the lever – for the time machine. ‘imagining things into being’ an idea paul ‘toyed’ with haha, it makes me smile cuz it’s such a different perspective than all the myriads of practice and info out in the world concerning ‘manifestation’. toying means fun somehow. and it seems just the right spice to bring out the flavor, and it’s a helluva lot smoother to swallow

  2. what a pleasant surprise. paul, i was just thinking of you last sunday, while i ran the streets of Brisbane. it was a beautiful day, and my run was pure flow.

  3. Kathi – Paul saved it to the drafts July 12, 2010 at 4:25 pm. I think when he saved it, he set it with a right time to be written. Thank you.

    “…parsing the simplicity of toy.”

  4. it’s a brilliant piece of writing

  5. I was thinking about Paul and decided to talk about him to my students and show them his blog on the day this was published. Imagine my surprise to see a new post! I showed them prayer and they listened to “listen”…missing Paul very much this week…still struggling to accept that he’s truly gone and when I saw the post I thought/wondered/wished maybe he wasn’t…

  6. Came by to pay my respects & was happily surprised to find this. 🙂 Thank you Brad…was lovely to hear Paul today also.

  7. I reflect the sun
    Sparkle green in crystal oblivion
    Before I was hung around the neck of a lady
    Before I was strung and came undone
    I remember being a solitary bead

  8. Thank you Brad for sharing this, it is not a draft any more…we miss Paul.

  9. … my thoughts this am. Miss you old friend.

  10. numbering the days again dear Paul—miss you more as time goes on, i wish you were still here with us, though i know you’ve gone on to a better place, yet i truly miss your writing, wit and kindness

  11. here and there the words are new and filled with grace and so much gratitude from those who are still here… tipota pretty much spoke the words that were in my heart as well…. ms pie

  12. been awhile Paul … came by to say hello, … as u spoke wrote when I first met u … thanks again for all the encouragement … can’t wait to meet up with u again pirate and burning pianos … xoxo

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