Helen Cox is a UK author. She made her on-screen debut in The Krankies in 1990. Given the choice, her Mastermind topic would be Grease 2 and when someone asks her if she is a god she says 'yes.' Oh, you want to know about her books? Best click some of the links below.
I’m not prone to tearing up in art galleries. I’m usually too busy trying to zone out all the conversations about Picasso and Monet, neither of whom ever really turned my head. I know. Shocking. I should be fed to the Sarlacc. Etcetera. But yesterday at the Guggenheim Museum, I definitely got a little something in my eye. That little something was a canvas by Wasily Kandinsky entitled: Several Circles (pictured above).
Looking at it, what do you see? Besides the work of a man who really knows how to use a compass. I see the eye of the universe gazing back at me. These aren’t mere circles. They’re planets and moons and meteors ablaze in the blankness. The most important aspect? They’re not alone. You’re not alone. I’m not alone. We are, each of us, unique on the surface. Different sizes. Different colours. But we are the same in essence. Just like Kandinsky’s circles. We too, touch and mingle and merge as the mood takes us. Some of us sit further out in the emptiness than others but there are still other bodies within reach should we need them. If only we’ll stretch out to them.
What’s that? You just see some circles? Oh.
But wait, there’s more to this. Honest.
I first happened across Kandinsky at the Tate Modern in 2006. The instant I clapped eyes on his carefree lines and bold blends of colour I understood I was witnessing something extraordinary. But I was all over the shop at the time. I’d just, as a small-town girl, moved to the biggest city in the UK. Quit my job. Broken up with a long-term boyfriend. Found out I was sharing my new living quarters with a rat. I wasn’t in a philosophical frame of mind. Thus, pinpointing what it was about Kandinsky’s work that roused me wasn’t an option.
Now, as a mature… alright. I know you’re not going to buy that. You see all my Twitter updates about repeat-watching 13 Going on 30. How about: ‘As an almost-34-year-old’? I’m at last able to process what Kandinsky’s work means to me. I value the freedom to be creative above most other things in this world and his work is creativity at its most concentrated. There are no inhibitions. No apologies. These are paintings birthed in the spirit of moving another human. Of contributing to their lives in some small way. And isn’t that the point of creation? To give something very personal to the world?
Most writers, at times myself included, waste hours on the ‘how do I get this published?’ hamster wheel. Diluting their real message and tone for something more palatable. A work more readily digestible for the masses. It’s an urge, I believe, we must resist. Editorial guidance to enhance your message is one thing. But sitting down to write and asking first: ‘now, what will get published?’ is a guaranteed method of draining any real resonance or power out of what you do write. The stories that stay with us aren’t born out of marketing trends. They’re born out of characters, the conflict they face and their means of overcoming them.
Artists like Kandinsky are a reminder that when you’re in the throes of passion with a new project, it’s important not to cheapen what you have by objectifying your new love. By thinking of those new characters you’ve come to care about as a product. The world of publishing has become something of a meat market, each pound selling at $0.99 or less. But when you’re composing, money should be the furthest thing from your mind. Trust me, unless you’re the next Stephen King or J.K. Rowling you won’t see much of it anyway. So why worry?
Kandinsky further sets an example in terms of staying true to your ideals, even if your work is deemed outlandish. You mustn’t dwell on what anyone else will think of what you’ve created. No matter what you do you’ll always have your critics. Look at what I said about poor Monet and Picasso, and what have them two ever done to me? Eh? Instead, think about what you want to express. Your feelings. Your thoughts. Your philosophies. How will you convey those to a reader? Why is it important you do that? What will they learn? Think about all the things in life that inspired you to create in the first place.
In my case, that just happens to be Jennifer Garner doing the Thriller dance.