Opposites Ignite Imagination: Smack Dab in the Imagination by Dia Calhoun

Yesterday I pulled out a piece of writing I like, but which has always had something missing. Rereading, I realized the piece was a joyful one-tone, one-tone, one-tone. Good for meditation, but not for drama. A helpful insight, yes, but I didn't know what new tone to introduce. I wanted the piece to be joyful.

This morning I read a quote by Lionel Corbett: "In many mythologies . . . creation and manifestation begin with the separation of opposites such as light and dark, form and chaos."* He goes on to say these opposites create conflict. And tension, I might add. Tension is necessary for drama. Of course as a fiction writer, I know conflict is necessary. But my lightbulb moment for my one-toned piece was, hey, look for the opposite tone. And my imagination-storm was off and running.

I'm happy to report that incorporating the opposite raised a mediocre piece of writing to a new level. And the piece is still about joy, but it adds suffering, which gives the joy a deeper resonance.

So I offer this to all writers: When your work is stalled, look for the opposite image, the opposite idea. 

*Lionel Corbett, Psyche and the Sacred p 136 


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