One Year to a Writing Life–Lesson #9, The Alchemy of Imagination

Alchemy:  The medieval forerunner of chemistry.  Concerned primarily with turning base metals into gold.  

Or in our case–how to turn plain ordinary words into ones that sing with life and meaning.  Or as Tiberghien puts it, “to find the sparks of light–the seeds of creativity–that are hidden in the physical world.  As a writer, you can walk along the path of alchemy, following an image into the dark, distilling it, and then bringing it back to the light.”  

Tiberghien believes that to create this kind of magic with words, writers need to find living images, “images that open doors to the invisible.”  These kinds of doorways include dreams, memories, and our surroundings.  

Once you have an image, listen to it.  Where has it taken you?  Is there symbolism inherent in it?  Play with the image.  Then long after the play, polish it.

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