Capturing Essences: A Writer’s Experience by Alicia Cahalane Lewis

Author’s note: Each month I’ll publish a small chapter on the website. This is not a book “just for writers,” but a few words I’d like to offer to all creative spirits wishing to make a difference in helping to lift the energy on this planet and what I feel are some important steps we can all take to bring solutions through creative expression.

Chapter One

We’re experiencing a wave of assault that is threatening creativity. This assault comes in the form of negativity and fear. If we continue to live, breathe, and experience fear, the planet, as we know it, will cease to create. She will die. This is seemingly a negative statement, one I recognize could be be perceived as both useful and harmful, but I’m going to explain. It is useful because it is a call to gather and celebrate creativity as a positive experience, one that ushers in beauty and expression, but as a harmful statement is solicits fear, the very thing I am rallying against. It’s so terribly difficult to be nuanced. 

Let’s circle around these two contradicting statements. I want to help usher in a time of renewal and positivity toward one another and the planet we live on. I don’t want to create panic or fear that if we don’t collectively do something our selves and/or our planet will perish because that’s frightening, but if we can take three minutes, more or less, out of our day and seek equanimity with ourselves, a fractioned relationship, or something we feel in discord with, we’re in a better position to create the steps I feel writers and artists are going to need to help move the dialogue back in the direction of crafting change. Humanity is at war with itself. Why?

I’m not a politician or a historian, although I have a peripheral view of our world’s dramas from a student’s perspective so I can visualize a kind of time-line of events that shaped us to be this way. It’s a circle constantly repeating itself because there’s always something someone wants and always another standing in their way. This applies to entire tribes, ethnic groups, demographics, races, and religions. There is one or more who wants and one or more who will oppose.

But when we continue to divide and sharpen this division we shape-shift ourselves so that the human race, which is grown from struggle, continues to struggle, and I feel will devour itself if it continues this way. Beauty was once seen as a way to help harmonize struggle. Beauty, as an ideal, was the nuance introduced to help soften. We can look back through time and find ways in which art, language, poetry, and architecture brought beauty to help calm the mind of fear and greed. This is a human condition I feel we’re all responsible for.

We’re all creative beings. Each of us. Finding solutions to mitigate hate might mean creating a novel that helps speak to the fractioning of the human existence, crafting a poem, a drawing, a landscape painting, offering a kind word, or lending a hand to another in need, but in all of us is the drive to dig out from the rubble of our souls, beauty.  I encourage us all to do so before we sub-divide and push beauty aside.


Chapter Two

Capturing Essences. What exactly does this mean? In this chapter I want to explore nuance, the difficult part of every relationship. Nuance is the struggle, or the under-appreciated attempt to define equanimity, but either way you look at it nuance is struggling to gain a foothold because we’re composites of yes and no, black and white, right and wrong. The planet is dualistic, although nuanced, but respectfully an either/or kind of place.

Capturing the essence of something, to me, is about building equanimity. It is returning softness to a hardscrabble existence. Let’s face it…not all of us have it that bad, and I’m certainly in a fine position so that my life probably would never be perceived as a struggle, but struggle is how we create, and through struggle, which we define as personal or societal, the presence of needing to overcome something just for the sake of the experience has been what we all do. Struggle wears many different clothes and has many faces.

Creation comes from a series of explosive actions. Creation comes as a result of action. Take a thought, such as writing a novel, and the only way we’re ever going to get that novel started, let alone finished, is to take the action called desire, the action called crafting form, and write it. All creativity is born from taking action.

Capturing the essence of creation is about capturing the truth of oneself, construct or reconstruct it so that you and I become the whole beings I believe we’re capable of, and retuning to that place of essence. Theologians, philosophers, and scientists all reconstruct theories. We all do it. Capturing the essence of something isn’t about right or wrong but about capturing the nuance of all that is.