Its quite remarkable to see the planning phase, the execution and the reflections or footnotes afterward in the course of creating any type of content. If we lay all these out in one straight line, we can read an entire month’s or decade’s time of work as a single sentence, and take a shortcut through a huge part of following a creator. This is slightly like memory as well, when we consider ourselves 365 days previous to where we are now; how much we’ve learned and grown in that time, and how those all made us the person right now. Perfectly listing all the differences that emerged in that course of time would probably leave one dumbfounded. Studying this in media certainly will, when we replace the constraints of time with the vastness of mediums, and the person in question with the odd and manifold forms of thought.
The creator often never has a perfect idea mapped out, even when a synopsis and several drafts are done. All the notes implemented and weird little bursts of “Damn, thats a good line!” included. Putting it all in a main draft and piecing things together is still just winging it, all things considered. This is why a lot of times the final piece is very different from the original concept, and even after that there are leftover tidbits to add in interviews or comments on one’s own work when its become known to a group or shared the world over. The understanding that the source is ambiguous about the core and the insightful ridges of the work leaves a lot of questions open about its meaning and flexibility. To think that the one who created that great movie or wrote that long, epic story is vulnerable to any degree makes the observers feel as though they have an equal amount of power in determining the direction of the content. It also supports the notion that a story conveys itself by its various perception than by its solid form.
Film and books experience this phenomenon way too often. So often in fact that it ought to be incorporated into that sector of expression altogether. “When I wrote [so and so] I had the intention of conveying X, but ended up seeing the deeper meaning being Y when I looked at how people were reacting to it.”, “The film took on a totally different meaning when it reached the audience.” and so on.
The way life lessons collide with us in a sudden and resonating way have become a similar unspoken trait of creativity. The work doesn’t seem to end until the viewer has a long, introspective moment to assess what was just absorbed, as with the author when the instruments of creation are put away. The work, however complex, is perhaps only the vehicle for getting the viewer as close as possible to the intended message, than for one to follow through objectively.
My modest thought experiment is this: Lets assume a writer has a concept for a book — but he wants to explore the deeper themes of the work in a published assessment of real instances of that thing. Having taken the essay into consideration, basing most or all of the book on that, the larger body incorporates the findings of that publication and perhaps expands on it when the author has time to step back and examine it under a different light. The book is complete and when its reception blows over, the author recounts what went into making that and notes the interesting values learned upon second, and now, third, glance. With all these three steps: The initial essay, The story based on the essay’s concept, and the remarks encompassing the two previous steps, is it wrong to say that the third step is the most pure and complete instance of that whole cycle of ideas? We can arrive not only at three, but at five or ninety or five-hundred instances of that third step after so many of the first two have been done — constant expansions and developments that take us someplace else after each other. Of course, after a while this would be cumbersome and annoying to keep up with, but nevertheless its still a form of filtering out the abstractions and getting to the purest batch of that idea. Ringing it dry.
The when its all said and done effect seems to be what trails off of finished work, being the spore that plants the natural continuation, or at least the afterthought, of media. This isn’t so unrealistic on the surface when we consider the reverse of Symbolic Self-Completion, e.g., doing less, or at least not enough, and being left with more to add.
I suppose its safe to say we’ve found an exploit for media; until, perhaps, we invert the phenomenon I proposed and not-self-completion, and we end up just making another mess. I guess time will tell if we get this one right.
Originally published at pseudogaffe.withknown.com on October 10, 2016.