In last week’s session, there were three themes to our writing. (Yeah, just to make it a little complicated.)
- The Five Elements
The first ‘peg’ on which our piece had to stand on was that it had to be closely linked to one of the five elements of nature. For reference, they are:
- Sky (or emptiness, vacuum, Nirvana)
The second peg it had to stand on was that it should be a love story. It doesn’t have to be a ‘romantic’ love story, but it should be about love. And the third peg is that it should be a memoir: meaning that the character in your scene should be recounting a memory, new or old. This could be borrowed straight out of your real life, purely made up, or any combination of the two.
The Concept of Duality
There is duality inherent to each of the five elements mentioned above. Each element has benevolent, life-giving, nurturing forms, and also destructive forms.
- Water in the form of rain gives life. As flood and storm it takes life.
- Fire is life-giving when harnessed. When out of control it’s the very symbol of destruction.
- Earth gives rise to crops and trees. It also quakes and swallows.
- We breathe air to live. In the shape of a tornado, it sweeps away everything in its path.
- Emptiness in the form of loneliness and depression could be debilitating. Whereas in the form of Nirvana it is the highest spiritual state one can reach.
In this exercise, we each chose an element, and wrote a happy memory of love, based around the ‘life-giving’ form of the chosen element. The idea is to use your element’s ‘positive’ form as a symbol or metaphor for your happy love memory.
In this exercise, we flipped the burger and wrote a sad memory of love, based around the ‘destructive’ form of the chosen element. Once again, the idea is to use your element’s ‘negative’ form as a symbol of your sad love memory.
A small note about the Objective Correlative
This session was a bit of a round-about way to get to what T. S. Eliot called The Objective Correlative. It can sometimes get confusing, but it’s basically how well a writer uses inanimate objects in his scene to create mood and emotion. In this case, the inanimate objects are the elements, and by tying the ‘positive’ forms to ‘happy’ and the ‘negative’ forms to ‘sad’, we’re attempting to correlate the object to the mood of the tale.
If that explanation is too simplistic for you, here it is in T. S. Eliot’s own words:
The only way of expressing emotion in the form of art is by finding an “objective correlative”; in other words, a set of objects, a situation, a chain of events which shall be the formula of that particular emotion; such that when the external facts, which must terminate in sensory experience, are given, the emotion is immediately evoked.
If you find these prompts interesting, go ahead and put something down into the comments section. This part of the blog is closely watched by Write Club members, so someone or the other will drop by and give feedback. Worst-case, I will respond for sure. So get cracking!
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