Saturday, February 16, 2008

Tuning the Instrument

Often in my writing seminars I'll talk about how the imagination is the instrument of the writer. And how, the more we hone and enhance our ability to think clearly, to visit worlds that only we can see, to make the jump from the visible to the invisible, we are tuning the instrument.

There's an old story about an archer who was giving a monk a hard time because he would take so many breaks walking in the mountains. "Sir," said the Monk, "please pull back your bow." The archer did and the monk told him to hold it... hold it... hold it... until the archer said at last, "But if I leave tension in my bow all the time, it will break."

"Precisely," said the Monk.

Sometimes the best way to grow a mature imagination is to give one part of your brain a break while you engage another. So the next time you take the afternoon off to watch a movie and someone gives you a hard time just tell them, "Hey, I'm just tuning the instrument, baby. Just tuning the instrument.

Now, time to get back to watching Babel, the movie I paused ten minutes ago so I could write this.

See? It works.

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