Why write?

Jalal Jonroy *

“Whatever you see with your imagination, whatever you feel and create with your heart is
art.”  Jalal Jonroy

Why write?

“We write to heighten our awareness of life…we write to taste life twice, in
the moment and in introspection…we write to be able to transcend our life,
to reach beyond it… to teach ourselves to speak with others, to record the
journey into the labyrinth…to expand our world when feeling strangled,
constricted, lonely… When I don’t write I feel my world shrinking.  I feel I
lose my fire, my color.”  Anais Nin, France.                                                                 
 Anais Nin

“Great God!  What have I turned into?  What right have you people to clutter up my life, steal
my time, probe my soul, suckle my thoughts, have me for you companion, confidant, and
information bureau?  What you to take me for? Am I a wench in a brothel who is called
upon to lift her skirt or take off her chemise at the bidding of the first man in a tailored suite
who comes along?”

    “If, in some moment of weakness, of relaxation, of need, I blow off
    steam – a bit of red-hot rage cooled off in words – a passionate
    dream, wrapped and tied in imagery:  Well, take it or leave it… but
    don’t bother me! I am a free man – and I need my freedom.  I need to
    be alone.  I need to ponder my shame and my despair in
    seclusion…face to face with myself, with only the music of my heart
    for company.  What you do want from me?  When I have something
    to say, I put it in print.  When I have something to give, I give it.  Your
prying curiosity turns my stomach!  Your compliments humiliate me!  Your tea poisons me!  
I owe nothing to anyone.  I would be responsible to God alone – if He existed!”  Papini, Italy.


K.I.S.S:  Keep It Simple, Stupid!  That goes for everything.  The Theme:  How to tell it; what
words and sentences to tell it with.

First give ample chance to the Design Mind – the creative right-side
mind – to Wonder, to Feel the Urge, the Rage, the Volcano, the
Vision, the Wonder, the Obsession… to express something
special within you; from your direct experience; from your
imagination; from your heart. To ‘Wonder’ is so crucial to the
creative behavior D.H. Lawrence elevated it to the status of a sixth

Cluster and associate Freely, Emotionally, using your Senses; your Feelings while
blocking off the censoring, critical, literal (dominant in most of us) Sign min - the logical left-
side mind.

“To Wonder is to live in the world of Novelty rather than Law (or habit), of Delight rather
Obligation, and of the Present rather than the Future.”- Sam Keen ‘Apology for Wonder’.  
“…Wonder requires a relaxed attitude, Receptivity, an Intuitive sense, a Delight in
juxtaposing and savoring particulars, Sensuousness, Openness and Participation.”

Focus on a Theme, an overall Feeling; a Guiding Vision using the creative right-side
Design mind.

Narrate a story naturally with:  mystery, surprise, energy, excitement, humor, digression,
freshness, fun, individuality, color, sounds, rhythm, smell, touch, taste… to captivate the
reader as though he/she is listening right in front of you!

    “And these words were, to me, as the notes of bells, the sounds of
    musical instruments, the noises of wind, sea, and rain, the rattle of
    milk-carts, the clopping of hooves on cobbles, the fingering of
    branches on a window pane… I cared for the shapes of sound that
    their names, and the words describing their actions, made in my
    ears; I cared for the colors the words cast on my eyes.”  Dylan

Be Selective: describe emotionally but do not make boring lists of everything you see or
feel; choose one or two overriding characteristic(s) or feeling(s), using no more than one or
two appropriate adjective(s).  

Choose from the amorphous mass of subconscious images.  
(“Art is not the truth but a lie that shows the truth.” Picasso.)

Be Evocative, even Provocative, not explanatory: a literal, technical,
sequential, ‘safe’, or logical description of  “facts”, while correct to
the logical left-side Sign mind, is dull - or worse, boring - to the
emotional, creative, playful mind.                                                                       
Pablo Picasso

Tell it like it is, so it shows truth, paying attention that speech may say one thing; the body
another… For example, when in love, “moving between the twin fears of having and
losing”.  “Because the ‘truth’ lies like nothing else!”  

Be Playful: Deal with polarity/opposites, not by choosing opposites but by riding and
rocking with the swing of life…Reality is a dance; a conversation; a series of echoes.

Strive for Metaphor: create Images to excite the five basic Senses evoking Emotions.  But
be careful of mixed metaphors and contrary similes.

Let that which is significant Recur.

Be sensitive to language Sounds, Ryhms and Rhythms, and especially to Patterns, to
Parallel Forms, to Symmetry: these make prose more poetic, more fascinating, more

Play with Opposites for Creative Tension.  “To know one thing, you
must know the opposite… just as much, or else you don’t know that
one thing… For the ‘opposite’ is not opposing but a necessary
compliment.” Henry Moore.

“Peu de chose nous console parceque peu de chose nous afflige”.
Pascal.  If you want conflict removed, you are asking for the
unnatural.  Imagine a sea without waves: it would be a sea no                     
Henry Moore
longer! (“Beautiful tyrant, fiend angelical, delicious pain, dove-feathered raven…”  Romeo
and Juliet, Shakespeare.)

Be witty and use wild humor, including poking fun at yourself, if it blends with the overall
Be human:  make references to your own vulnerabilities and contradictions, within the
overall Theme.

Do not show off personal style, experience, knowledge, or quotations of the famous, for
their own sake.  Invoke these only to progress the narrative within its guiding Theme.  

Avoid overused images, tired words, common sayings, over-popular proverbs, hackneyed
phrases, trendy or heavy, intellectually ‘pretencious’ expressions,  and clichés.  Write what
stands the test of time: omit what is, or is going to sound, silly, cute, pretencious or corny
except on purpose, e.g. to mock!

Cut Out spurious words and dead language: every Word must tell.  “Two words will never
serve as well as one alone.”

Finally, come full Circle.  Good writing hangs together gracefully like a marvelous piece of
music; a sculpture; a painting; the architecture of a striking building; a beautiful, tastefully
dressed woman; or indeed like any wonders of nature: a tree, a flower, a butterfly, a bunch
of grapes!

Then: Revise and revise, invoking the participation of the left logical Sign mind (for
language, grammar, syntax, brevity) until the writing speaks with your own unique, true
inner voice; your individual style.  Revise:

* Until it feels simply True.

* Until it seems Aesthetic to the Design “feeling” mind, (i.e. probably strange, incongruous
to the left logical Sign Mind!)

* Until it sounds Harmonious, Fresh and Original.

* Until it is Whole and Unalterable.

    Revise after: sleeping on it; wondering walks; radical breaks;
    fascinating discussions; dreams; daydreams; music; playing
    with children; a sumptuous meal; a lovely wine; a great
    smoke; an ecstatic amour; the excruciating pain of love lost; a
    superb movie; a wonderful painting; an amusing cartoon, a
    brilliant novel; a rousing natural sport – like horse riding; a
    deep grief; an unusual experience; a chat with a madman, or
    a fool!

Let the Design mind dream, be obsessed, create and see the idea! And use the Sign Mind
to present it!


Where do words come from?
From what rubbing of sounds are they born
on what flint do they light their wicks
what winds brought them into our mouths

Their past is the rustling of stifled silences
the trumpeting of molten elements
the grunting of stagnant waters

they grip each other with a cry
expand into lamentations
become mist on the windows of dead houses
crystallize into chips of grief on dead lips
attach themselves to a fallen star
dig their hole in nothingness                                                        
 Vénus Khoury-Ghata
breathe out strayed souls

Words are rocky tears
the keys to the first doors
they grumble in caverns
lend their ruckus to storms
their silence to bread that’s ovened alive

-Vénus Khoury-Ghata
(Translated from French, by Marilyn Hacker)

Whatever you see with your imagination, and feel and create with your heart is art.

Jalal Jonroy, writer/director of David & Layla, New York, 2007.

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