Last week I wrote about using Natalie Goldberg’s approach to writing, in essence, letting Wild Mind loose on the page. I have to tell you, IT WORKS! Now I’m adding to that a concept from Ken Wilber. (Oh, be still my heart, he’s going to be at Lighthouse this evening.) In No Boundaries, Wilber writes convincingly that we create boundaries to define ourselves. All else becomes other. If our boundary is sharp and clear, we feel secure. We know who we are. But if, in fact, there is no line, then who or what are we? Porous, permeable, part of a great, hard-to-define whole, what UUs call the interdependent web of life.
From that philosophical mountain top, I have seen, no felt, no feel, something I have known intellecually for years: the characters whom I create are part of me. But what feels very fresh is that when I send them out to readers, I blur the boundary between writer and other. The character becomes my emissary to the world. And the reader becomes my co-creator, changing those squiggles on the page back into someone who breathes along with us. This thought somehow challenges me to assist in that process, like steadying the hand that pours water to satisfy a deep thirst. My job is to help the character rise up from the page and connect me to the rest of the world. E.M. Forster said, “Only connect.” Right!