Alchemy

I am now part of Alltop - Top Writing News .  I mention this for two reasons:  1- because they asked me to; and 2-  because Networking is what we do on the Internet, is it not? Since writers are in the communication 'business', sharing ideas, tips, just having a conversation, a disagreement, an explanation, an elucidation, etc., etc., this being part of a circle that gets larger and larger helps shrink the world a bit.  The setting for telling stories changes from sitting around the campfire to the kitchen table and so on down through our history, but the need to tell stories is a very human.  We can cross cultures and generations at such speed, you would hope we could all understand one another better.  Hope, too, is a very human quality.

I read through a few of the other writing sites on Alltop and came across this thought on Writing Forward comparing the ancient pursuit of alchemy to the creative process:

In the Middle Ages and during the Renaissance, alchemy was a form of chemistry and philosophy that sought to turn baser metals into gold and discover the elixir of life. A more modern definition of alchemy is the magical ability to change a common substance of little value into a substance of great value.

Creativity is inherently linked to alchemy. Our life experiences, thoughts, and ideas are of little value until we channel them into something of substance — a compelling book, a mesmerizing piece of art, or a dazzling performance. Creative people, such as writers, artists, and performers, are alchemists on a quest to transform the stuff of the mind and body into something that others can experience and enjoy. (How to Be More Creative)

From what I gather, most writers churn and tumble and cook and let settle our own life experiences and the observations and confessions we have been privy to.  Whether what we have been bouncing around our brains turns into fiction, non-fiction or poetry, we have done something to those gems of memory and transformed them into something new.  And in the process, we the writer, the storyteller, the artist or the grandma telling stories of way back when to her descendants, are shaped and changed by the reflection and the re-working of the story into something that is our own. And we have to let it go, because it will be something new again to those we hand it on to.

I rather like that thought.  That if we take the stuff of our lives to create a story, a painting, a poem, we have worked it with our 'hands' the way a potter turns mud into a pitcher, or a jeweler takes a rock and turns it into a ring.  We all do that in some form, whether we label ourselves writers or not.