Tapping The Stream

~ The more I read and write and listen and bear witness to any and all creative acts, the more I come to theorize the possibility of a grand ‘stream’ running through us, through the whole of the universe. Run with me here…

This ‘stream of unconsciousness,’ let’s call it, is the mythological tapestry of experience and culture and chaos. It is the locus of the creative chaos going on within us as individuals within modern society. It includes all of our stories and myths, all our tropes and characterizations, all our heroes and villains and their fantastical gauntlets and evil plots for world domination. It is constantly changing, altered by the currency of events and creations entering its hold, whether in fact or fiction. And it is the thing being drawn upon by the artist for his work. Every time they set themselves to work upon their singular canvas, with muse at their back, and personal experience beckoning their pen, they are implicitly calling the streams’ special powers to their side.

I say tapping “the” stream instead of “your” stream or “my” stream because it feels like something outside of any one person. I am not so sure it carries a unique belongingness to you or me or anyone. It is here for all of us.

I maintain that good ideas engender good art; the ideal form of writing I wish to engage with is borne from ideas. Ideas, ideas, ideas are the key to the cultivation of any kind of creation and to motivating its continuous execution. But where do they come from? Where do ideas source from, and how do we continuously mold them into something brand new from their forbearing predecessors?

From out of a conscientious attention to the stream, any person becomes an artist. I posit that every single person has this stream of creativity, ideation, and inner artful imagination within, just by nature of their continued existence within our dynamic world of culture and conversation. All of society’s experiences, material or immaterial, that end up driving any kind of storytelling throughline, are steadily transmitted into the conscious individual living and progressing through time alongside it. And this stream can be tapped at any time. It flows, and flows through us without our knowledge or a full understanding. But the more familiar with it we become, the more unavoidably attractive it becomes to us. It’s not always easy to capture its sprites; the thing pulled from out of the stream is not always equivalent to others which have surfaced. But the stream can be drawn from again and again, ad infinitum if one so chooses to do so with the time they have available. Each time, the stone pulled forth is developed and amplified in novel ways, the finishing sculpture something never before seen and never to be crafted the exact same way again.

The artist, the writer, the thinker, the speaker, the dreamer — all are familiar with this internal stream. Regardless of their level of proficiency in their particular craft, the stream has an outsized presence for them in the manifestations of their passion. Even for the non-creative type, tapping the stream becomes part of their lifeblood at some point, at work or at home, unto vocations and relationships.

My writing and this blog is such an exercise. It is my continuous interplay with the stream. I tap from it to unknown ends, with deliberately novel means. It’s practice, a recursive process to draw from this inexplicable source of universal creation, and become better for it and better at it over time. There are times that the streaming creative work does not come easily, if at all. There are times when the well appears dry. This is when I tell myself: Keep going, keep going, keep going.

The stream is infinite, and though I am not, when I reach into it and create from out of its spooky holds, then I can dream of maybe one day in the future being so. ~