I’m a creative person, as I’m sure several people who read this already know. I’ve made music, I’ve painted, I’ve written both poetry and fiction, and I will continue to do all of that in the very near and long projected future, if I have anything to say about it.
I’m still not very sure how this works for me: Do the Moisai whisper me directly, or send spirits? Do They break out Their Holiest Hand-Puppets and put on a show for me? and then I’m compelled to writ it out? Maybe a mix of things, depending on what I’m doing. For the purposes of this article, I’m going to go with the latter assumption than any former assumption; it just makes sense.
When I’m making music, I just let the Moisa take over. Whether it’s completely improvised (like with “music for Un Chien Andalou“) or carefully crafted with guided intentions (like with any of the bands I’ve been in), I surrender. Music, any music, is sacred to me in that way. It’s best approached, as a musician, by letting the Moisa take over, letting Apollon conduct the instrument that is that sacred orchestra of Their voices and Their hands on instruments, and letting myself become a vessel for that din glorious. Considering the music that I’ve earned a few listens on Last.FM for, or even my approach to performing when I’ve been in a real band, I don’t know this austere, “classical music only” Apollon that the pagan community seems to have a raging boner for (I largely blame Nietzsche, and more importantly, Joseph Campbell’s and Isaac Bonewits’ citation of influence from Nietzsche), I know the real musician, the one consumed by His craft —and I’ve talked about this before— and I digress. My Moisa, the Moisai, She or They just take over when I’m doing music. I prefer not to negotiate the experience, and that may be one of the reasons I can be hard to work with in a band, but my favourite fellow musicians are also notorious “perfectionists” who demand that they craft under their preferred conditions, unwilling to compromise the integrity of the work in order to maintain a single line-up throughout their careers (except for Pete Townshend, but he’s kind of an anomaly to all this).
When I paint, it starts with “the itch”. This isn’t a physical itching, but the Moisa itching at my brain, telling me to paint. I go to the store for a canvas, and look through them all —every single canvas, not just the variants in size— until I can see the painting. It’s somewhat literal, at times. My Hyakintos painting was detailed down to the tiniest detail; Eros I saw on the canvas only slightly different from how He ended up there, but those differences were guided as I painted. I’m sure I look half crazed looking at every blank canvas at Jo-Ann and Michael’s, sometimes more than once, looking for my painting before I’ve even painted it, but that’s just how it works out. I don’t allow myself much say in paintings, as far as composition of elements is concerned; I will negotiate colours, when I feel like it (that’s why my Hekate ends up coloured like The Afghan Girl, cos I’d been reading about that photograph earlier in the day and found it really striking, and wanted to pay subtle tribute), but for the most part, that’s it.
Writing poetry is Moisa-guided, but highly disciplined and I work a lot of it out, myself. I get flashes of imagery, and ideas of what to say, but how I say it, I work out on my own, and I can spend weeks on a few lines, coming back, even after i’ve written more, and tweak them just a bit at a time, for not only metre but nuance. It’s about saying the exact words I mean to say; this has also seeped into other writing I do, and why I can get so annoyed when people would rather argue with what they think I’m saying, and not what I actually said; I said it the way I did for a very good reason, so pay attention to that, and leave your assumptions out of it. Again, I digress….
My stories, my fiction, that’s where it can seem to get weird. It’s guided, but I treat each character as its own spirit; at some point in the writing, the character definitely feels like an entity outside myself, that I can sit down and talk to about what needs to go into the story and what can be saved for later. At some early, but not usually initial stage of writing that character, I get very clear mental images of how the character looks, and I don’t think these are people i’ve seen before; some faces, at best, are composites of many faces. Each “spirit” gives me the character’s birthday, and something of a family history, though sometimes details of that family will come later. As I write, I get to know each one, their hopes, their dreams, their favourite films and bands and books —sometimes things I’ve never read nor watched nor even really listened to, but I usually will shortly after learning this, just to get a better idea of who this character is. Sometimes personalities are clearly things that were born of certain elements of myself, but to write the characters best, I have to behave as if this character’s “spirit” is no longer simply an aspect of myself with other interesting things thrown in, that whether it’s a unique spirit, or some puppet show of the Moisai orchestrated to make me a better writer, I neither know nor care, cos at this point, it’s clear to me that this is simply how I have to treat the character to write about them.
This, obviously, is where I have some sympathy of the “pop culture pagans”, cos really, at some point, it sure as hell feels like I’m writing about things I have little say in, that these characters develop something of their own spirit outside myself, cos to best write about them, I have to treat them like that. Sometimes I can try like hell to call them up, and they won’t show up until I’m in the shower or out for breakfast with friends, or otherwise doing something where it’s too inconvenient to write. On the other hand, I gotta side with Alan Moore about the “gods or superheroes” topic, cos well, for starters, look at him, would you argue with Alan Moore?
…and secondly, and most importantly, it’s most-like the conclusion I’ve come to, myself, after years of experience. Fiction can very well create entities that are greater than the work of fiction itself, but then there are “entities” created by fiction that exist only to make money for big corporations that exist for making money. And there is a BIG difference between an entity worthy of worship and an entity that exists only as much as Capitalism wants it to. I don’t know if Jace Hanvey is some new god in his infancy, or if he’s just a spirit that manifested from some writing I felt compelled to do, or if his existence is, literally, some metaphysical hand-puppet of the Moisai, but I know I’m supposed to tell his story as it’s been told to me. And i have to tell Henri’s. And Dougan’s. And Pyee’s. And Dubhan’s. And all these other characters that I feel compelled to write about.