Monday, April 09, 2007

I oppose a brain

Another piece of art that was suggested as an inspiration for our writing group excercise was Colville's Horse and Train. Somehow this appeals to me more although it seems a more difficult subject than the Wyeth. It should be easy to think of a story for Christina. She has been crippled somehow, left to die perhaps some distance away from help and is crawling to this house where perhaps aid or perhaps her attacker waits, or she is trying vainly to hide in the short grass from something sinister in the dark house or bird infested barn.

But the theme of the horse and train attracts me more.

The picture was inspired by a poem published in 1949 by the South African writer Roy Campbell. Words by Wilfred Owen serve as the poem's epigraph: "None will break ranks." The poem itself includes the lines: "Against a regiment I oppose a brain / And a dark horse against an armoured train."

First there is a symmetry in the idea - I write something inspired by a painting that in turn was inspired by writing. Perhaps a poem would be fitting?

Secondly I like the theme of the painting. "I oppose a brain" I feel like that right now, as if the whole world, an unconsciously regimented world, is hurtling somewhere at break neck speed and I am heading at an increasing gallop in the opposite direction. I have something to say about that.

Finally Colville was a war artist and right now, with thoughts of Vimy and deaths in Afghanistan it seems fitting that I write something as an observation on war and the forces at work that lead to it. I don't think my thoughts would conform to Colville's, nor should they. I oppose a brain.

Writers Block

This is what I have and I have it big time. My writing drought has been long and prolonged and strangely, or perhaps not so strangely, started after my gargantuan writing effort at Nanowrimo. It is tempting to think I wrote out everything I had and there is no more.

I have been thinking about our writing group challenge (for Friday) which is to write something inspired by a piece of art, perhaps particularly Christina's world. I have been trying to get enthused enough to cobble something together. This should be easy. Two years ago I would have found the idea interesting and been keen on the challenge. Now I just can't seem to get motivated. I think I just don't want to write small pieces any more, and my inner self has just shut down, refused. A little voice keeps saying "Why are you just fooling around. Buckle down and finish your book."

The same thing happened with my painting. I got tired of going to classes and thinking about painting. I wanted to just PAINT. Not just little excercises but a canvas. Since then I have finished two and I am working on a third. My friend helped keeep me on track by providing goals and a deadline to meet. (Thanks Mamie!)

I know I have some good writing in me, I am not tapped out. It is all there just waiting to bubble out when the time is right. But that time is not now it seems.
Oh, life is a glorious cycle of song,
A medley of extemporanea;
And love is a thing that can never go wrong;
And I am Marie of Romania.
Dorothy Parker, Not So Deep as a Well (1937)