Tuesday, 3 April 2012

A beautiful truth

WRITING all day for a living sounds like the ideal job for an author.
It's what you write, however, that really matters: facts are for work; imagination is for pleasure.
Churning out press releases; cobbling together stories from garbled notes; finding catchy headlines; and adding captions to out-of-focus photographs all within strangling deadlines is the grim reality of contemporary newspaper journalism.
Personal voice is gagged by 6Ws in an inverted pyramid and there is little room for creativity within a 250-word limit.
Good journalists should only be interested in the facts.
Good fiction writers, on the other hand, should allow imagination to light the way and ever let the fancy roam.
Which leads in nicely to what I really wanted to blog about today.
It was with some trepidation that I watched Bright Star on the TV a few days ago. It worried me that I wouldn't like the actor that portrayed the man I have known and loved since I was 14.
John Keats
John Keats gave me a passion for words. He was the single most profound inspiration to the creative writer inside me that I met the same time as I found him.
Keats opened up a whole new world of words for me: he taught me that they could be beautiful. They could describe scenes, thoughts, emotions and inanimate objects in a way that made the heart soar and fingers tremble against the page.
I learned that a breeze could sigh; a Greek pot could be an "unravish'd bride of quietness"; and the nightingale was immortal.
"Beauty is truth, truth beauty". I don't believe that Keats intended this statement to be a conundrum or even an oxymoron. Erudite scholars of literature and philosophy have been pondering on the meaning of those five little words for almost 200 years, but I think I understand what he was trying to say.
Truth is more important than fact: anyone can churn the latter out. It is the inquisitive, creative mind that takes a long, deep gaze beyond the surface to find the truth and the beauty beyond will reveal itself.
For a writer, there is no more effective way to achieve this than through the "viewless wings" of the imagination.
Words should not only touch the mind; they should go through the soul.


Rosemary Gemmell said...

What a beautiful post, Sara. I too loved Keats from high school and was the only person in English class to understand Ode on a Grecian Urn - and to be willing to tell the teacher!

I missed the beginning of the film but was completly hooked when I started watching.

Anonymous said...

Much informative and useful article… I like it personally…

Sara Bain said...

Ode to a Nightingale was my favourite, Rosemary, and perhaps the best work of his short career. The film was OK but I didn't like the way the characters quoted the lines from his poems: they raced through them and lost the emotion.

Anonymous said...

What heyday isn't today?

Jason Bouwman said...

Great post!
Appreciated your take on Keats' quote.