"Looking Away At" Smack Dab in the Imagination by Dia Calhoun
Bayo Akomolafe Ph.D., is what I would call a riveting, visionary thinker who speaks and writes with a mythopoeic imagination about contemporary issues. Saying he makes me think twice is not quite right. Rather, I would say he makes me turn my imagination inside out and upside down.
Akomolafe describes talking with his autistic son. He said his son "looks away at" him. Yes, you read that correctly. His son does not "look away from" him but "looks away at" him. When I heard that, something clicked in my mind. Isn't that a fitting description for how authors and poets work? We use metaphors, action, storytelling, and characterization to show our ideas, emotions, and driving passions.
Picture trying to see a faint star on a starry night sky. We can see it better with our peripheral vision than we can if we look straight at it. I want to teach myself to "look away at," to see what can only be seen and understood with my peripheral vision and then communicate that in art.
Check out Akomolafe. His passion comes through when he speaks, so I highly recommend you start there.
This podcast from Sounds True, Let Us Make Sanctuary, is a good introduction.