In some ways, holidays are about creating – creating shared experience, recreating links and goodwill through gifts, creating memories and traditions, What does the artist do if not create? They can create experience, that of intrigue, laughter, mystery, or just that “this book understands me!” feeling. The artist can create a community. Think of the community of fans around something like Lord of the Rings, or the community at the museum of art, or the community of artists themselves at the coffee shop.
Writers, using Logos, create as Yahweh did, through the word itself. Although some philosophers have argued on the limits of language, within those limits (if they do exist), the words can be powerful, creating worlds and characters which populate those worlds, and emotions that we can latch onto within those characters. Indeed, some occult traditions hold that by naming a person or thing, with the word, you gain control of it. The writer controls the world and the characters that he or she is creating.
The moment of creation is the moment most exquisite, filled with excitement, fervor, and many worries. “Maybe this is it!” “Is it good enough?” But it is a powerful moment, in some cases causing many of our writing compadres to choose a life of poverty for their dream of creation. For me, there can be no words better to describe it than those of a poet, Robert Duncan, in Bending the Bow:
“We’ve our business to attend Day’s duties,
bend back the bow in dreams as we may
til the end rimes in the taut string
with the sending. Reveries are rivers and flow...”
Here's to the holidays and the hopes that the artists out there create ever new worlds, and insights into this one. Some days, “this one” does need a lot of explaining!