This seems to have been a day for blinding glimpses of the obvious.
This is Blinding Glimpse number one: that certain poets of Olden Times such as Coleridge and Tennyson – maybe Poe and Browning – all those slightly strange poets writing about ghost ships and ravens, floating ladies, knights bewitched and wandering, murdered duchesses and vengeful birds – were what would now be thought of as fantasy or dark fantasy writers – in the form that happened to be acceptable at the time.
Similarly, poets are now appearing in the guise of songwriters – eg Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, Joni Mitchell. Yes I know there are more up to date examples, I just can’t think of any.
Similarly, artists are now popping up as fun-fair designers and graffiti-sprayers, and film-makers as producers of beautiful adverts. All forms of art are alive and well: they’ve just rebranded themselves. Whether I’ll still be able to write the post I intended to write, having given away the gist of it, remains to be discovered.
Blinding Glimpse number two: I get days when I get lots of ideas – creative days – and these seem to follow my genetically-inherited spells of stygian gloom and hopelessness. Might not the shaking of the kaleidoscope, the sudden splintering into idea after idea, be the medicine for or the antidote to the preceding gloom?
In which case, am I in a mild way, noticeable only to myself, bipolar? And that leads me to wonder – rather than all of us being either bipolar or not (or for that matter autistic or not, psychopathic or not) could it be that we are all on a series of continua – a continuum for more or less everything? So the key isn’t so much in the definition of a person’s symptoms/moods/behaviour as in the extremity or noticeability of the symptoms/moods/behaviour?
Of course, it could be round the other way: the glooms might be ‘payback’ for a creative spell.
Blinding Glimpse number three: there are other things you might use blogs for, apart from blogging. I mean, you could write a whole novel – or a short story sequence – and contain it in a blog. Now, is it possible to get posts to appear last-first, rather than first-last? Or would one have to write the whole thing then schedule it to post in backwards? Where did I put Blogging for Dummies?
Blinding Glimpse number four: It would be possible to extract just the plot DNA from each book you read, then use the DNA as a prompt for any number of novels of your own. Brick Lane, for instance. The DNA for this long novel might be something like:
Young woman transposed into alien culture, finding herself married to someone not of her own choice, not speaking the language and denied the opportunity to learn, gradually accepting/adapting and emancipating herself so that when the chance comes to return to her home country she chooses instead to stay.
This basic plot could be adapted for almost any genre – sci-fi, fantasy, romance, historical. The central character need not be female or even human. He/she/it need not be coming to Britain from India, but from anywhere in the galaxy to anywhere else.
Similarly, for Achebe’s Things Fall Apart, the DNA might be:
Strong and respected leader brought low by his own fears and obsessions – small flaws in his character. Which is more or less the ‘recipe’ for Greek Tragedy.
Well, that’s enough Glimpses for one day. Talking of tragedy – a week’s worth of ironing awaits.