Monday, April 20, 2015

Mentor of What?

When I signed on to be a writing mentor, part of the difficulty was understanding what I can bring to creative projects. Sometimes, it was reading and giving clear feedback. But sometimes, it was to feed into an imaginative process. That is what #rhizo15 feels like. I've recently worked with a graduate student who is working on poetry. I know little about poetry, but I know a lot about the creative process. In working with the poetry, the creativity, and the process, I've realized that my contributions to the creative elements doesn't have to interfere with the production of the poetry, but with the complexity of creating this complex vision where it is going. I have no investment in the finished book or the editorial elements that go into poetry. When I read the poetry I just explain how it effects me. However, I continue to ask questions of the process, share areas of creativity, and make connections. I've read the poetry and continue to advise on how and when the progress is changing but my investment is in continuing a creative process that is shaping the artist so that the art can continue.

This also feels something like the Glass Bead Game by Hermann Hesse, a book that was meant to examine the act of imagination in the form of a philosophical novel. We don't understand this novel as a concept until we are able to attach our own imagination to this concept. Without us, the imaginative, the book doesn't make sense. So, with the subjective learning, we need to also understand how we fit into the learning, the quest, and what the end might look like. If the learning is subjective and fluid - how do we know we have made it to an answer or a result? Do we base it on intuition? Do we base those ideas on something that is just as ubiquitous as the quest or the purpose of setting out.

In working with students in higher education and in creative writing, this kind of subjective learning pathways are exactly where I find the greatest opportunities for writers to be challenged in their complex tasks of making art in form and aesthetics.  

1 comment:

  1. I wonder if some of that might be the reason why we are seeing so many creative projects coming out of #rhizo15? I have seen many songs, pomes, artwork... creative takes on data that make beautiful maps or images collages. Is the medium becoming the message?