Really, I would never want to do it — even though the idea has occurred to me. What if I could download a painting from my brain directly onto the watercolor paper? Then I wouldn’t have to work — to worry about my hands not being able to execute what’s in my imagination — or getting the colors and the shapes wrong — or any of the other things that can interfere with my “vision.” How about that — no frustrations!
I was reminded of this unattainable (thankfully) idea when I read Chris Huntington’s essay “Why We Write” in the May/June 2012 issue of Poets & Writers. Mr. Huntington talked about “thinking” versus “writing” as if there might be a chasm dividing them, the same kind of chasm that can exist between my “idea” and my “painting” and that requires work to cross. Work that is ultimately satisying.
“I’m old enough to know the difference between thinking and writing. I know which is harder,” he wrote.
“Jack Kerouac, I think, had it right. On my favorite recording of him Kerouac is drunkenly packing up his stuff after a reading when he’s asked by a saxophonist, ‘Which is more important: the ideas or the prose?’
“Everyone around Kerouac laughs, as if he’s been asked some impossible chicken-or-egg question, but in the middle of all their laughter Kerouac growls: ‘Ideas are a dime a dozen.’ It’s true. Everyone has ideas. That’s why I write. Just thinking isn’t enough.”
Yes, I embrace the work — and the eventual satisfaction. (“Just thinking isn’t enough.”) And downloading would cheat me of both.