Since childhood, I’ve had a magpie mind. Though I may set myself a straightforward course, inevitably I’ll see off to one side something moving or off to the other a shiny thing, see a glimmer in my periphery or a shadow just past my vision. I’ll hear in the distance some unfamiliar music or unconnected words. A whiff of some scent will trigger memories of some past event or person. In no time at all, the straight line I had prescribed for my course will become a tree with branches spreading in many directions. Of course, the Internet with its varied and conjoined links only encourages this mindset. Is this the state of all writers? I don’t know.
For a writer, or for any artist, this broad and easily awakened interest in anything and everything that may hove into sight or scent or hearing can be a positive advantage. At the same time, the magpie mind can easily lose focus and wander off the main path never to return. It can be a challenge to keep on track.
For days now, I’ve been trying to write a new entry for my blog. I had an idea in mind, and it seemed simple enough. Not so. I’ve had a hard time getting started. Today I figured out the reason. What had been a simple concept had become a complex of related ideas. My direct path had become a many branched tree without direction, or rather with too many possible directions. I realized that, thanks to an acquisitive magpie, I now have an intertwined nest of ideas that could become several articles. To find one true path to follow, I’ll have to separate these ideas and follow each in its own direction. What was to have been a single entry in my blog must now become several related articles.
Rather than be the first in this series of articles, this entry will be the introduction to the series, an article in and of itself with its own particular focus: the effect and impact of distraction on the artist with magpie eyes and ears, truly the impetus for flights of fancy. Here’s something to consider: just how much of a magpie do you become as you write?
The general theme of the next few entries will be self-image as it affects artists and in particular writers. How do you define yourself as an artist and as a person; how do you define your art, the works you create? The subject is not near as simple as it might at first appear, and it’s worth some consideration. For myself as much as for others, I’d like to explore in some depth this area of the artist life. I hope others will find this exploration as interesting as I do.