Creative invention in my work does not feel like willful innovation. It feels more like a form of remembering. An act of psychological archeology not unlike the groping after images and snippets of associative sensation that you engage in when attempting to recall a dream upon awakening. A particularly vivid and moving dream that you know in every cell of your body is crucially important in some way, but that you are unable to retrieve whole. Maybe you jumped out of bed too quickly, or let your mind wander on to the new day's various demands, or just let your consciousness drift with the current of incessant inputs from your physical body. But in any case the line is lost, or at least unraveling fast, leaving you with only the faintest of threads to follow back to the important matter you want so desperately to re-engage. It's like this when I'm completely absorbed in working on a new piece.
I've been making things for so long that I no longer need attend to my hands and eyes. They hold their own ongoing conversation with the materials, by turns laughing, weeping, speaking with carefully measured clarity, or simply crying out with utter abandon, while my subconscious just seeks,seeks,seeks.....struggling to clean the windshield....determined to keep scrubbing and scraping down to the true new old always present. Hoping to elucidate the dream, and settle at last into what Proust so eloquently referred to as "the repose of enlightenment".
"...the smell and taste of things remain poised a long time, like souls, ready to remind us, waiting and hoping for their moment, amid the ruins of all the rest; and bear unfaltering, in the tiny and almost impalpable drop of their essence, the vast structure of recollection."
From "Speaking With The Dead" by Jürgen Pieters p.125-6 :
"To write is to embark upon a process of what I would call a metempsychosis that does not involve a soul-it is not a transmigration of the soul in the sense that authors put their most intimate thoughts on paper so that they can be transferred into the mind of the reader, in the same shape and with the same content, but is a process that involves the transfer of energy that Barthes would label linguistic(both the transfer and the energy). Of all the definitions that Barthes gave of the act of writing(it would be possible to collect a stunning anthology), the following is one of the most fascinating. It occurs in the preface to the 1964 collection of his Essais Critiques: 'Inevitably, to write is to remain silent. To write, in a certain sense, is to be silent like the dead, to become the person to whom the last reply is denied. To write is from the very beginning to grant that last reply to the other.' .......This brings us back to the act of writing as a metempsychosis without a soul. Two of Barthes favorite authors described the productivity of the imagination in similar terms. The first one, Michelet, from the perspective of the author; the second one, Proust, from that of the birth of the reader. I'd like to begin with the latter. In the opening pages of the first part of the Recherche, in the famous scene in which Marcel for the first time professes his love for the written word, Proust literally refers to the principle of metempsychosis. Marcel is lying in bed, or rather, he is telling us that he used to go to bed early, when he was young, in order to deliver himself to what he was reading and to the dreams that developed from it. He had barely put aside his book and blown out his candle when he fell asleep. But then the thought that it was about time to go to sleep woke him up again, Proust writes, in his inimitable way of putting things : ' And half an hour later the thought that it was time to go to sleep would awaken me; I would try to put away the book which, I imagined, was still in my hands, and to blow out the light; I had been thinking all the time, while I was asleep, of what I had just been reading, but my thoughts had run into a channel of their own, until I myself seemed actually to have become the subject of my book: a church, a quartet, the rivalry between Francois and Charles V. This impression would persist for some moments after I was awake; it did not disturb my mind, but it lay like scales upon my eyes and prevented them from registering the fact that the candle was no longer burning. Then it would begin to seem unintelligible, as the thoughts of a former existence must be to a reincarnate spirit; the subject of my book would seperate itself from me, leaving me free to chose whether I would form part of it or no; and I would be astonished to find myself in a state of darkness, pleasant and restful for the eyes, and even more perhaps, for my mind, to which it appeared incomprehensible, without a cause, a matter dark indeed.'
The birth of the reader is a complex process....."