For years I have been a writer, an editor and a teacher of creative writing. Now I want to share some of what I have learned along the way. Write On The Fringes is a blog about the dangers, the disappointments and the rewards of writing. It's a record of the writing of a novel, from the tantalising first inklings of an idea, through to the final draft. But above all it's an exploration of the art and the craft of writing and the nature of story, as well as a search for the essence of creativity and the complex nature of truth.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Writing Our Own Paths

'Creativity is the greatest rebellion in existence.'
Osho, Creativity: Unleashing the Forces Within

It is a wonderful thing to start a novel. Despite the trepidation, there is the extraordinary feeling that comes when we set out on a journey. Having left home but not yet arrived, we inhabit the 'space in between', the no man's land in which anything and everything can happen. I have begun this new novel; felt the excitement of slipping into the creative process, not quite losing myself yet, but already surprised by the material that has arisen from my unconscious and formed into words on the page – well four pages to be exact. Not much, but just enough to know that there is more to come, patiently awaiting my attention. Once again I find myself being seduced by the mystery of the creative process.

Speaking on a panel of writers I once mentioned the word creativity, only to find another writer dismissing the word as a cliché. Of course any word can become a cliché with overuse and with misuse, but there's a danger that the inherent value of that word will then become derided. It would be a great shame if we began to deride the idea of creativity. Osho writes in his book, Creativity, that 'any activity can be creative, it is you who brings that quality to the activity'. Is it then possible to write a book or paint a picture uncreatively? According to Osho, it is. 'Creativity is the quality that you bring to the activity you are doing. It is an attitude, an inner approach – how you look at things.'

I looked up the term creativity and on found it defined as 'an ability to produce something new through imaginative skill, whether a new solution to a problem, a new method or device, or a new artistic object or form. The term generally refers to a richness of ideas and originality of thinking. Psychological studies of highly creative people have shown that they have a strong interest in apparent disorder, contradiction, and imbalance, which seem to be perceived as challenges. Such individuals may possess an exceptionally deep, broad and flexible awareness of themselves. . .'

In order to truly create, in order to do more than copy what is already known, then perhaps we need to free ourselves from conditioning and from the collective psychology. Paradoxically, I think one of the keys to freeing ourselves in this way, lies in story. Analytic psychologist, Juliet Sharman-Burke calls myth, fairy tales and folklore 'the original self-help psychology', while Jungian analyst and cantadora (storyteller) Clarissa Pinkola Estes, describes stories as medicine. 'They have such power,’ she says. 'The remedies for repair or reclamation of any lost psychic drive are contained in stories'. Stories help us to remember, to transform and to release our wounds, and in doing so, we are able to become truly individual, forging our own path through life.

At one level story is purely entertainment. On another level it can be a form of propaganda that reinforces the social order and prevailing attitudes, thus keeping people unquestioningly obedient to a social system and sometimes a religious system too. Stories can be read politically, interpreted differently according to their context and the numerous filters through which they are received. We can respond to stories from many points of view: take a Marxist perspective, give a feminist reading, psychoanalytic, realist, structuralist, and post structuralist, all of which are necessary and illuminating ways of reading narratives and understanding the culture in which we live, but cannot lay exclusive claim to the whole truth.

While our stories entertain, and provide us with ways of thinking about how to live within our society, on a third level they also provide us with maps that allow us to develop as individuals (more on this in a later post). Mythologist, Joseph Campbell, wrote extensively about this third level within story and this is the level which I explore in my novel, Flight. Although stories can and do encourage us to conform, paradoxically they are also subversive, in that the very structure of story is a map of the process of becoming oneself, a state in which the individual may live freely within society. As Osho writes, 'Creativity is the fragrance of individual freedom.'

Copyright (c) 2012 by Rosie Dub. All rights reserved. You may translate, link to or quote this article, in its entirety, as long as you include the author name and a working link back to this website:


  1. It's so interesting the way reality meets imagination. I was led here today after making a decision this week to begin a book I've always known I needed to write, after not writing anything book-length for 20 years.

  2. Hi Nancy
    I'm pleased you found my blog and hope you find it useful. It's always a big step setting out to write a book length work.

  3. Hi Rosie,
    Your articles are very very engaging! Very nice!
    I shall follow your blog religiously from now on!
    (I saw your profile under 'Books and Writers' at LinkedIn.... and the note about your rich experience drew me to your page. Good i followed!)

    Perhaps, you may also read the trivia i post on my blog, which is:

    Please do let me know your feedback! Would love to receive your comments.

    God bless.

  4. I was pulled into a vortex of thought and emotion when reading this. So true! Fascinatingly true! I am a children's writer in Jamaica. As I read this, I wondered how we can neglect indigenous children's literature, as we so often do in the developing world. Writing is a powerful tool. I shall continue to follow this blog.

  5. Hi Diane, I'm pleased you were moved by this post. I do think it's so important to find our own voices and our own paths rather than subscribe to what we are told is best. I agree, writing is a powerful tool!