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Enter the labyrinth

May 3, 2011
Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

Into the labyrinth he goes, in search of those passions which drive his creativity and spawn those ideas which develop into words that might entertain, might tantalize, and perhaps explain and define the essence of the writer and that which makes him tick.

“Is creativity the end, or merely the means to the end,” the writer ponders? “Is creativity the pursuit of passion, or is passion pursuing creativity?”

In an attempt to define and develop an answer, the writer calls into play all of those metaphors for passion which are the brush strokes on a canvas, or ripples in the pond of experience.

The writer believes there is no such thing as original thought. He thinks every idea is merely a rehash and rearrangement of what has been learned and what has been experienced. Complex thoughts are merely simple thoughts put together in unique ways, and when he succeeds, creativity follows.

The labyrinth is perhaps the oldest visual metaphor. When most people think of a maze or labyrinth, they visualize a garden, or a pattern. These are merely human attempts at visualization – a way of thinking.

There are labyrinthine metaphors in literature, musical composition, metaphysical thought, and to those great thinkers such as Einstein – even quantum mechanics.

The most obvious metaphor is that entering the labyrinth is a journey. It is often representative of our path through life, or at least a portion of that odyssey. We come down a corridor to a place where we must make a decision – left or right.

To the writer, entering the labyrinth is indeed a fitting metaphor for a special adventure, a quest for inspiration and the actualization of passion and desire which stem from the pursuit, and the complex path which must be taken to actualize creativity.

Walking that labyrinth inspires the actual process of bringing that passion, that desire, those most base feelings to the surface where they can be relished and acted upon, taking consciousness into the realm of the subconscious and bridging the two.

The writer first walked into the labyrinth seeking self actualization His was a journey begun in quest for that which brings meaningfulness, creative focus and passion to his life.

Knowing he can’t really exist in metaphorical space, the metaphor has to be translated into common activities or representations expressed for others to understand. Perhaps writing is a vain attempt to draw a brush across a canvas to elicit emotion in the reader; much like the artist renders their paintings to capture the emotion for the viewer to see. Where words fail, the artist succeeds; writing is often an exercise in futility.

While his journey through the labyrinth is a bridge to the past, with corridors in the present, the exercise is merely a tool of the imagination and the spirit; perhaps a metaphor for the long and winding road of life.

When the writer enters the labyrinth, he is sheltered from the cares and demands of life. It is a blissful place, an escape, an intoxicating space. It is a spot for contemplation, a diversion for the dreamer, where past experiences can meet present desires and meld into a plan for future fulfillment.

As the writer walks the halls of the labyrinth, he searches for the familiar, those feelings which drive the instinct to define and resolve conflict. He wonders what he will find around the next corner. Thoughts become desire. Anticipation drives every step. Hope leads, passion follows.

The journey is indeed the quest for passion. That passion is the quest for creativity. It is easy to get lost in the labyrinth. While in there it is easy to lose oneself in carefree thought. It is an escape from the demands and pressures of life. Through daydreaming and contemplation, abstractions can become ideas. Every turn in the labyrinth is brighter, bolder. Choosing a direction with blind intuition, wisps of ideas become solid thoughts.

When the writer struggles with putting what he sees in his mind’s eye into words, he enters the labyrinth. He walks the labyrinth looking for reason, exploring the metaphor, discerning the feelings. A simple trip to that place can stretch the mind and make sense of those abstractions swimming in the thought stream. Sometimes he succeeds; other times he fails miserably.

Until next time--

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In to the Wind and this column are copyright 2011 Mike Gilchrist. Readers, feel free to contact me at via email, or write to me at P.O. Box 255, Toledo, IA 52342

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