“To believe that you can achieve meaning or feeling without coherent, integrated patterning of the sounds, the rhythms, the sentence structures, the images, is like believing you can go for a walk without bones.” Ursula Le Guin
Of the notion that stories come from ideas, “The more I think about the word “idea,” the less idea I have what it means,” Le Guin wrote. “I think this is a kind of shorthand use of “idea” to stand for the complicated, obscure, un-understood process of the conception and formation of what is going to be a story when it gets written down.” Le Guin felt that the writing process may not even involve intelligible thoughts or words; but rather a mood, a resonance, a mental glimpse, or voices, emotions, visions or dreams. Can those things be described as ideas? In painting, I am guilty of leaning on the place-holder word, “vibe” – an inspiration that turns into a compulsion to make material a feeling — in the form of an aesthetic experience.
This Painters’ Keys article applies to writers and visual artists, outlining a set of requirements to develop a work. Sara Genn offers an exercise to develop an idea or vibe.