Gleams of light that flash across your mind

Spark of the day:

Don't ignore the gleams of light

A friend of mine mentioned loving Emerson's essay "Self-Reliance," and I decided to read it. I should mention that don't usually read things as literary and challenging as Emerson. Since leaving academia, I've been more of a children's book reader, with the occasional self help title thrown in. But she convinced me that this essay from Emerson was worth a try.

The language is tricky and old-fashioned, and I almost turned away before getting past the first sentence. But I remembered the words "dig deep" which I included in my art journal last week, and decided to persist.

I made it all the way through the first paragraph. (It was a long paragraph! Don't laugh.)

Well, turns out that first paragraph contained tons of SPARKS! I had to stop and think about it, and write down some notes and my favorite lines.

Here's my favorite bit:
A man should learn to detect and watch that gleam of light which flashes across his mind from within, more than the lustre of the firmament of bards and sages. Yet he dismisses without notice his thought, because it is his. In every work of genius we recognize our own rejected thoughts: they come back to us with a certain alienated majesty.
Wow, I love that.

First, lets note that he talks about gleams of light flashing across the mind. Sounds like sparks to me, and you know I'm all about looking for sparks this year. Plus, the novel I'm working on is called "Threads of Light" and involves creativity appearing to my main character in the form of flashes of light. I think it's a sign that I need to keep reading this essay.

So spark references aside, I loved the content of what he said. Have you ever had ideas that you reject, only to later see somebody else come forward with something similar that gets showered with admiration? And you think "I already thought of that!" but of course it doesn't matter. Because you didn't recognize it's potential. You didn't have the courage to bring it out of your mind and into the world.

Here's my takeaway: Don't ignore those flashes of light. Write them down. Think about them and see if you can find a way to bring them out into the world so the rest of us can benefit from them. Follow the sparks!

I wonder what paragraph two will contain? Can't wait to find out.

Hope it sparks for you too!


Spark of the Day is a blog series where I document and share the ideas that spark (i.e. resonate with) me. They are usually either ideas I come across during my day, or ideas I have as a result of my work and personal writing. Spark is the "one word" I have chosen for 2015.

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