Communication Through Imagery

The question of how to portray images as they appear originally in the author’s mind is a constant point of consideration and discussion in poetry writing and in the work-shopping process. Is it possible though, that poetry and other forms of creative writing provide what may actually be our best shot at reaching others with what we are thinking?

In the major authors course I am taking right now on Virginia Woolf and D.H. Lawrence, we are currently reading the writing of Woolf, and some of her ideas relate directly to this concept. I felt inspired to think further into this, and I believe that at least in part Woolf may be trying to argue for this point through her work—that writing may indeed be the closest anyone can come to truly expressing their inner life and connecting to others. One of the themes that tends to permeate Woolf’s works is the issue of basically how anyone can ever hope to glean anything close to the correct picture of what others are thinking or feeling. And this is an incredibly fair point; two people may look at the same scene at a park for example, or even the same leaf, and have completely separate memories or ideas come to mind. Her question seems to be: how can one ever hope to understand another person when the internal mental realms in which we live are so vastly different? When you become close to someone you can develop a type of intuition into how they think, but it can never be a complete view. Verbal communication also falls short, and so that leaves us with written expression.

I’d like to agree with the view that this is our best chance at connection. True, it can be difficult to put something down on paper in a way that is translatable from your mind to a reader’s interpretation, but I think it is a challenge for a reason and very worth it. If correctly harnessed, the ability to write can be a boundlessly powerful tool, connecting people from all backgrounds and with all levels of familiarity. The only prerequisite for this type of communication is the desire to understand.

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