The tasteless water of souls

I do not feel that – on my own – I necessarily have very much to add creatively or intellectually to the live tradition that is already in the air. In one way or another, it has already been said, written, done, articulated. The stories have already been told, and in a sense, all I can do is retell them and pass them on – to keep the tradition moving; to keep it fresh.

Having said that, I do realise that each retelling, each reinterpretation, can and does bring new layers of meaning, and perhaps a new dimension to something already familiar, or in some cases even reinvent tradition, creating something that never was.

But I think that is rare for me.

Even ideas that I once thought novel, fresh, or original, somehow have roots or origins within that live tradition – origins that I never encountered before but somehow am able to articulate as though they came from within my self.

Perhaps that live tradition is within each and every one of us – whether we are cognisant of it or not. It flows as the “tasteless water of souls” that is “the true sustenance” of all artistic endeavours. It is the gift that inspires.

I am all too aware that – for me at least – it cannot be forced. The seed of an idea often comes like a long-forgotten memory in the middle of the night – or a visit by a rare butterfly in broad daylight: you do not expect it. You do not see it approach. The memory moves with stealth; the butterfly’s wings are transparent and diaphanous. When it comes it takes you back, and you feel a rush inside. Something stirs.

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