Oregon writer, Rain Trueax, and Oregon painter, Diane Widler Wenzel co-author Rainy Day Thought. Diane generally posts on Wednesdays and Rain on Saturdays. There may be extra days or changes as situations warrant. Comments are always welcome and appreciated as it turns an article into a discussion.

Saturday, August 03, 2013

the tracker and the muse

 When the dream came, it was a full moon and such times are rich for dreams. I am not sure why that would be because when the sky is so bright at night, it can make sleep uneven. Maybe that's the key that more waking during the night makes for more remembered dreams.

This dream was about how creativity happens. It was in a story form but the story didn't matter. What mattered was two words-- muse and tracker. That was the key according to the dream to creative work and when I woke I knew it to be so. Not one or the other but both-- working together or sometimes in conflict before they come to terms with making 'it' happen.

Muse is something I write about once in awhile and exactly what it is I leave vague in my own mind. Some would say it's a spiritual entity who helps us when we need it. They might be quite certain what that entity is.

To me the muse is not someone but more something. It's that unexplainable impulse and idea that comes seemingly out of the ether. It's the art of the writing. It's the instinct. It's what happens when you are writing a story and suddenly you know there is something you missed-- something facts alone don't explain but it's what takes the story to a dimension that goes beyond the mundane to something special.

Hence, the muse is the art.

The tracker though, well that is craft, research, structure, and the work in the work. At the essence of any idea has to come the ability to get it across to someone else. Without that, the idea remains within and goes nowhere.

This is true of painting, sculpture, writing, and any art form. The tracker is the practical aspect to even research into the sciences. It isn't alone or the work is mundane and plodding but if it isn't there, the work is so flighty it cannot be shared beyond maybe a few or possibly nobody.

So tracker is the craft.

Both are essential for the arts or any creative work. Leaving oneself open to the muse is where ideas originate that don't appear to have any logical beginning. But, without the craft, they stay right there-- in the mind.

Some put down the craft aspect as beneath them to consider. True art must remain pure and unfettered. Great, just be sure you do keep it to yourself as nobody else will understand it with a structure that makes it available to more than one.

Tracker and muse can get into conflict, hence came the idea for using these photos of our cats playing. Tracker tells muse that it is fanciful and it's not possible what it wants. Tracker ridicules the dreamlike quality and believes only it is needed for quality work. Muse accuses tracker of stomping on genius, of taking the heart out of a work. They can work together but with mutual respect and an acknowledgement that they are both needed-- even when they seem for a time at cross purposes.

In painting, there are those cases where some would claim only the muse is important. An example would be Jackson Pollack's huge splatter paintings. They are called great art and people buy them at high prices. They appear to be all muse and have no craft to them. My guess is if their appeal lasts, even though their form was new, the craft is underlying them more than it appears. It's just a guess-- though the muse told me it was so...

(In the photos are Blackie and Pepper. They actually do get along pretty well and only once in awhile does Blackie get too rough and she has to tell him off in no uncertain terms. Otherwise, she likes the interaction between them and sometimes is the instigator.)


Hattie said...

Everyone creates in a different way. Otherwise it's imitation.
For me, dreams are the key, and tapping into childhood feelings (not childhood memories, necessarily).
Most importantly, the "receiver" of the work is not important at the moment of creation. You can't have an editor, real or imagined, standing looking over your shoulder if you hope to come up with something unique. Making your work comprehensible to your audience is a different task. However, that can go only so far, because the creator is the person with privilege when it comes to his or her work.

Rain Trueax said...

hence the argument between tracker and muse, Hattie ;)

OldLady Of The Hills said...

I don't think that there is any question when it comes to Pollack---he definitely had his painting skills and even if it all looks random and only the 'muse' at work, there is no way his 'tracker' was not at work, too....!

LOVE the pictures of the Cats....!

Rain Trueax said...

Thanks, Naomi, and I thought that also from what I have seen of his paintings.

Annie said...

Great photos of your cats at play, and I like your dream metaphor of the muse and the tracker. Am curious what the story behind the metaphor is!

Rain Trueax said...

It's too bad I never remembered it, Annie but often they are just vehicles to get an idea through my head or find a way to talk about it. The last few nights I haven't remembered any dreams. not sure what causes that or the remembering.

Diane Widler Wenzel said...

In Pollack's action paintings there was a third aspect to his creativity - dialog. His works progressed from one to the next going from portraying a story idea towards non-objective works. The impulsive muse in later works may not have won out over tracker's demands in the dialog existing between each work. Tracker still remained without demanding representation - feelings spoke loader in selecting the paints and consistencies and gestures in splattering the paint. Learning to control splattering as a language expressing feelings was part of what tracker did for Pollack.

Rain Trueax said...

I love that, Diane. A nice addition to understanding how tracker and muse work together-- or not